15 Cancer Symptoms Women Are Likely to Ignore

Many cancer signs mimic symptoms of other diseases or conditions, so it’s easy to brush them aside. All the doctors we interviewed agreed: Know your body, and if you notice an unusual pain or other change that persists and gets worse, head to the doctor.

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Postmenopausal bleeding

Postmenopausal bleeding Photodisc/Thinkstock
It’s not uncommon for women to see some light spotting even after they’ve gone through menopause. But if you suddenly start period-like bleeding again, and it’s consistent, it could be an early warning sign of uterine cancer, says Maurie Markman, MD, an oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The good news: Women diagnosed at stage 1, when the cancer hasn’t spread, have a five-year survival rate of 88 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Breast dimpling, discoloration, or other changes

Breast dimpling, discoloration, or other changes Stockbyte/Thinkstock
An unusual lump is the telltale sign of breast cancer women are told to look for. But other breast changes can signal cancer. If you notice the skin of your breast becoming dimpled, a nipple inverting, swelling, tenderness, or slight discoloration of the skin to a deeper red or pink, it could be cause for concern, says Rich Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society. “Those signs don’t necessarily mean it’s cancer, but that’s exactly why women delay seeking help because they’re hoping it’s nothing,” he says.

Bloating

Bloating BananaStock/Thinkstock
Nearly every woman complains of bloating, especially during that time of the month; but if you notice you’re still bloated after your cycle finishes or you feel consistently constipated, it could signal ovarian or uterine cancer. “If it’s been a few weeks and isn’t getting better, that’s a change, that’s not you,” says Dr. Wender. “Ask a doctor to take a closer look.” Many ovarian cancer patients report having experienced vague symptoms, like bloating, that they ignored for months before seeking help, says Moshe Shike, MD, gastroenterologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. A feeling of fullness despite a lighter appetite is another common sign of ovarian cancer.

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Abnormal periods or pelvic pain

Abnormal periods or pelvic painiStock/Thinkstock
It’s not uncommon for women to have irregular periods, but if your flow suddenly becomes significantly heavier month after month, if you start bleeding between periods, or if you have pelvic pain, ask your doctor for a transvaginal ultrasound to check for uterine, ovarian, or other vaginal cancers.

Chronic coughing

Chronic coughing iStock/Thinkstock
Everyone gets colds that have you feel like you’re coughing up a lung. But if you develop a cough that lasts three weeks or more and you don’t have other symptoms that usually accompany a cold or allergies, like a stuffy nose, it could be an early sign of lung cancer. Leukemia can also cause symptoms that seem like bronchitis or a bad chest cold. “If it’s different than your regular cough and if it persists or you cough up a little blood, that’s significant,” says Dr. Markman. Some lung cancer patients report chest pain that extends up into the shoulder or down the arm.

Stomach pain or nausea

Stomach pain or nausea iStock/Thinkstock
An upset stomach is so common it will rarely mean you have cancer. But if you notice persistent stomach cramps or are suddenly nauseous all the time and it’s not getting better, see a doctor. It could turn out to be something as simple as an ulcer, but it could also signal leukemia or esophageal, liver, pancreatic, or colorectal cancer.

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Frequent fevers or infection

Frequent fevers or infectioniStock/Thinkstock
If you’re usually healthy but notice yourself getting sick or feverish more frequently, it could be an early sign of leukemia. Leukemia is cancer of the blood and triggers the body to produce abnormal white blood cells, sapping the body’s infection-fighting abilities by weakening the immune system. Pay attention to flu-like symptoms, like achiness or fever, which don’t go away.

Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty swallowing iStock/Thinkstock
A sore throat can make swallowing hard or painful, but if you notice it persists for a few weeks and gets worse, see your doctor. This is a common sign of throat or stomach cancer and could also be an early sign of lung cancer.

Excessive bruising

Excessive bruising iStock/Thinkstock
You wake up with one mysterious bruise—probably not reason to worry, maybe you bumped into something stumbling to the bathroom last night. But if you start to notice bruises popping up all the time, especially in strange places like your hands or fingers, it should raise an alarm. Easy, unusual bruising can be a sign of leukemia, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Over time, leukemia impairs the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and clot.

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Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss Photodisc/Thinkstock
“Weight loss for a lot of Americans is a good thing; everyone’s dieting—but if you have less appetite when you usually have a good appetite, and there’s no big life event or problems happening to cause that, get it checked out,” says Dr. Markman. Weight loss or unusual changes to appetite can be a sign of many cancers—such as esophageal, pancreatic, liver, and colon—but it’s an especially common symptom of leukemia or lymphoma, says Dr. Wender.

Persistent fatigue

Persistent fatigue iStock/Thinkstock
Everyone has days when they’re low on energy, but you should feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep or two. If you notice you’re tired every day for more than a month, or experience shortness of breath when you didn’t before, see a doctor, says Dr. Wender. “Most of the time it won’t be cancer, but get it checked because you never know.” Leukemia and lymphoma commonly cause persistent fatigue.

Chronic headaches

Chronic headaches Stockbyte/Thinkstock
If you’re not prone to migraines and never get headaches, but suddenly find yourself popping ibuprofen every day, it could be a sign of a brain tumor, which causes pain by pressing on nerves.

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Blood in the stool

Blood in the stool iStock/Thinkstock
Most likely it's something benign, like hemorrhoids. But this can be a sign of colon cancer. Cases are increasingly common in people under the age of 50—the age at which colon cancer screening is typically first recommended—Dr. Wender says it’s important to get checked out. “It’s easy to dismiss it as hemorrhoids or constipation, and if the problem comes and goes, people reassure themselves that nothing’s wrong, especially younger people,” he says. “But blood in a bowel movement is never normal, so get it checked out.”

Noticeable skin changes

Noticeable skin changes Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in America, but it’s also one of the trickiest to recognize the early signs, says Dr. Wender. “Skin cancer is a tough one—many people think freckles, moles, or a darker age spot is just like the others they’ve had,” he says. Dr. Wender says if you notice a mole getting darker, larger, or becoming raised, get it checked out. Melanoma skin changes are easier to identify because those spots are often irregularly shaped as opposed to round, significantly darker in color, or even two distinctly different colors within one spot, he says. “Melanoma is far less common than other skin cancers but has the potential to be more deadly,” says Wender. “However, many melanomas have a long period where they’re not invasive and easy to cure, as long as they’re caught early.”

Sores or pain in the mouth

Sores or pain in the mouth iStock/Thinkstock
A cold sore that heals is probably nothing to worry about, nor is a toothache that goes away after a trip to the dentist. But if you notice sores that don’t heal, pain that sticks around, white or red patches on the gums or tongue, and any swelling or numbness of the jaw it could be a sign of some mouth cancers. If they persist for longer than two weeks, the American Cancer Society suggests seeing a doctor.

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104 thoughts on “15 Cancer Symptoms Women Are Likely to Ignore

  1. One should be added to the changes in the breast: any nipple discharge. Might be insignificant. It also might be the only symptom you have of breast cancer.

  2. I went to a free clinic for 8 months complaining of lots of blood in my urine, to the er 3 times, and they just treated me for a bladder infection. Kids, if you find a large amount of blood in your urine, insist on a cat scan, because some doctors are quacks!

    1. result! I had an almost stage 4 cancer in my left kidney. I finally got a doctor to listen to me.

      1. Since it was on the inside of my kidney, and contained, they took out the kidney and I am fine now, 5 years later.

    2. Also i was losing lots of weight, and run down. I also had pain in my tummy on the left side that radiated into my back.

  3. Cancer

    When they beated me in coma

    my phantom woman Rose got cancer.

    When I turned she also healed.

    When I was killed she was also died.

    When they had not beaten me in a coma

    my Rose had also received no cancer.

    When the legs from the foster father

    of my Rose were amputated

    my foster mother got cancer.

    When the foster father of my Rose

    was murdered my foster mother

    died a cardiac arrest.

    Rose and me are from each other

    cause our phantom connection.

    Jack Terrible

  4. lawsuits are to protect the people who have been wronged IN THIS TYPE OF SITUATION, there is no reasons he shouldnt sue, this country is to complacent in letting bad doctors practice and misdiagnose, what this country needs is for the government to be stricter in who can and cant become a doctor, doctors in most countries become doctors because they WANT to help people. In America doctors become doctors because doctors make lots of money, there is a HUGE difference and this is why malpractice exists, it happens EVERY DAY everywhere. it needs to stop, another thing that needs to be gotten rid of is the HMO system, all it does is fleece the doctors fleecing the patients and raise costs for everyone, get RID of the HMO system. lets get back to taking care of human beings because we LOVE helping others. Not because of the paycheck we get weekly.

  5. I had many of these conditions – chronic cough, frequent low-grade fever, easily bruised that took a long time to heal, frequent headaches, chronic fatigue, constipation, and more. ALL have cleared up since I began eating a plant-based, organic, whole foods diet! I always find it interesting that no doctor ever asked about my diet, which until recently was the typical American diet of meat and fast food. Of course these can be signs of cancer because that diet creates a cancer factory in the body! If I can learn and change at my age, you can, too! BTW, I’ve been eating mostly Vegan since January. I can’t believe the changes. Aside from those already mentioned – no cravings, no guilt. I eat desserts all the time because they are made with whole, real ingredients including vegetables that are healthy! Change your diet, change your life.

  6. This sounds interesting, but I am not going to click through 16 mini-pages to read it all. What a hassle. It’s time to stop catering to the search engines and start thinking about what your readers want. This is Reader’s Digest, after all. There isn’t even a “read all on one page” button, at least not that I can find.

  7. You missed a very important symptom. Blood in your urine. You may not see it; it may be microscopic that shows up in a routine urine test. If you have blood in your urine but don’t have a urinary tract infection, go to a urologist and get it checked out. It’s probably nothing serious, but it could be bladder cancer. Many family doctors are not clued in to the fact that women (even young women) can get bladder cancer. They keep on treating for urinary tract infection which means a bladder cancer diagnosis is delayed. As in any cancer, early detection is KEY to survival. More women die of terminal bladder cancer than men because they haven’t been diagnosed promptly.

  8. I have had irregular periods to no periods my whole life and my family Dr. Would do a women’s exam, and would not find anything and would send me home, but after almost 15 years of the Dr telling me nothing was wrong, I ask for more testing, and what was found was nothing less then shocking, I had a brain tumor, something I would have never of imagined ! I have been fighting my brain tumor for 9 years now. My advice to all women is, trust your body, listen to what it’s telling you !

  9. I too, have been complaining about several of these symptoms for years. It took me 16 years to finally get diagnosed with Arthritis in the lumbar and thoracic with degenerative disk disease. Also suffered with fibroids for many years being told my symptoms were normal for a 40 year old. By the time I finally went to a male gynecologist, they were so big I had to have a hysterectomy. Now I’m fighting to find out the cause of my fatigue and shortness of breath. I suffered for years and still suffer. Some people are lucky and find dr.’s who care and look to find answers right away.

    1. Did your doctor ask about your diet? See my post above. Your body will heal with real food.

  10. What about cramping and swelling in the pelvic area 3 years after a hysterectomy?

  11. My mom has sone of these sighs thsts what scares me the most….

  12. I have a lot of these symptoms but I’m also 6 months pregnant… so.. that’s probably why, right?

  13. I complained of several of these, back pain, tiredness, fatigue, pelvic pain, loss of appetite, plus I was throwing up everyday, I had uterine cancer turns out.

  14. My symptoms started as having difficulty swallowing and a change in my voice. The doctor said he didn’t notice the change in my voice even with my daughters telling him that isn’t my mom’s voice. I lost 54 lbs in 6 mos from the swallowing issue, was sent to GI dr who did a scope and found nothing. Nothing obvious from outside. Finally after all these months a nurse practitioner ordered a thyroid ultrasound which showed what looked like 3 separate tumors. I had surgery and it was one tumor so long that it wrapped around my esophagus and extended down behind my breast bone. Of course they removed thyroid but accidently also removed parathyroids which make me also have to take large doses of calcium. But at least i’m cancer free

  15. I had a friend that passed away from breast cancer. Her initial tumor was nearly the size of a golf ball. She was nursing a baby at the time and the doctor had told her on multiple occaisions this was a plugged milk duct and not to worry.
    When it was determined to be cancer, my first thought was law suit. When I brought this up, she and her husband told me, the answer was no. If she was really concerned she could have sought a second opinion.
    This answer shook me to my core initially, but then I realized the advice they received made sense to me. At some point in our lives, we do have to take some responsibility for our own health.
    Yes the outcome was a tragedy for her and her family. I still miss her to this day. But she taught me a valuable lesson. If you truly “feel” something is not right and you’re not getting anywhere with your doctor, see another one. It’s your body, your life. Take charge of your own health care.

  16. For Lung Cancer – yes, please do check for the shortness of breathe..don’t dismiss it as “it’s too hot, humid.” Any coughing, change of your cough – sounds much deeper. Any changes to your voice, if it becomes raspy, “froggy” / laryngitis voice. AND when you do visit your doctor, make darn sure he orders the x-ray – that he does not dismiss this as bronchitus – simply sends you off with a script of Z-Pak!

  17. I went to at least 5 different doctors when I started getting super heavy, super painful periods that would last for weeks at a time. None of them took me seriously. They’d press on my stomach a little bit and say “Feels normal. You’re only 24. It’s just normal hormone changes or stress from work. You’ll be fine.” Out of options, I went to the Planned Parenthood clinic near my house, and they finally actually looked at my problem and listened to what I was saying. They did a pap smear and an abdominal ultrasound, and discovered I had early-stage cervical and ovarian cancer. I’m very lucky it was caught when it was, or it could have easily spread. I wish more doctors would actually listen to what we as patients tell them, and not pretend they know it all.

  18. Dear Readers Digest – many women DO NOT ignore these symptoms – DOCTORS IGNORE THEM!!!!
    Like many posters, I’ve experienced my fair share of the symptoms listed here. And, like others, my concerns were dismissed by doctors who attributed them to “stress,” “periomenopause,” etc. With a history of cancer in my immediate family, I am very conscientious about yearly pap smears and other annual checkups, in addition to getting regular exercise and eating right. But I have had many bad experiences with doctors who just want you in and out of their offices asap. I had one doctor who failed to contact me after the results of my pap were abnormal. Her staff just filed away the results, where they stayed until I called to renew a prescription three months later. Why didn’t I call to find out early what those results were? Because the doctor’s staff told me that “if we don’t contact you after your pap, it means your test results were normal.” And they wonder why their malpractice rates are so high.

  19. My daughter has had cancer of the reproductive organs since 16. She is 26 now. Her son is eight, and before he was born, she was supposed to start chemo but didn’t after a year, she got sporadic exams/burnings. Recently, a new doctor said that he would not see her again, until she paid off the Initial visit’s $150.00 bill. A Travesty! ANYWAY_ people- go to a county Hospital’s E.R., and say- I don’t know what is wrong, and get a scan, and then go to the finance department, and make a deal. Medicaid pays’ for emergency Medical bills! don’t be prideful! This is s afight for your LIFE! Quit work, live with a relative, and get SSI. REST and EAT- until better, nothing ELSE! BUT no sugar, or alcohol/cigarettes. We will know by middle of July if my daughter will be in trouble, again. Please pray!

  20. There is another side to this story. Many people like me go to the doctors with frequent complaints of pain, fatigue, ect and for 3 years i went to the doctors and was told “its in your head” “you are making this up for attention”, “you are just drug seeking”. I finally found a doctor that listened and within a month I had lifesaving surgery. Its been three years now. I am still sickly but am cancer free.

  21. I can relate about the perimenopause. my periods went on and on and got very fluid. I wrote it off as perimenopause to myself. I was very lucky a pap caught the problem, which they don’t always do, before it was too late. It was beginning stage endometrial cancer and I was able to reverse it w/hormones 9 years ago.

  22. Interestingly, #1 and #2 were my complaints for nearly 18 months before I was finally given a diagnosis of lung cancer: stage 4 non-small-cell adenocarcinoma. I was otherwise healthy and went to the doctor continually over that period of time. Chest x-ray after chest x-ray revealed “pneumonia” then “pleurisy”, then “asthma”, none of which I had. I was handed antibiotic after antibiotic, inhaler after inhaler. The third doctor I saw (and the second pulmonologist) finally actually read a CTscan I’d had and diagnosed me. Don’t talk to me about “early” diagnosis. I did everything I should have done and here I am 18 months into my treatment, hoping and praying to live long enough to see my grandbabies grow up. 

  23. why am i having these symptoms: uti, fever, headache, cough, lung pain, weezing, shortness of breath, full body pain, pain in my overies, rib pain?

  24. why am i having these symptoms: uti, fever, headache, cough, lung pain, weezing, shortness of breath, full body pain, pain in my overies?

  25. My bad ex doctor sent me for toxoclogy screens 3x when I went to her with these symptoms.I still have no doctor to look after me.
    pS she also accused me of taking oxy contin bacause my tylenol 1′ showed up in the screen.I’ve known her for since I was 5 am no 46.

  26. I have nails discoloration, the dermatologist, gave nail fungus cure, it doesnt work, & now I suffer hair loss severe daily fatigue, joint’s pains & head pain, tingling pain,

    Please help me what type of specialist Doctor should I seek, thank you very much.

    Lorie  

    1. Since I’ve been there, I recommend that you see a Naturopath [ND] to have your ‘Thyroid-Adrenal’ hormone functions checked. Hair loss, fatigue, odd pains, tingling and fungal growth can be related to imbalances with these essential hormones which greatly affect one’s overall metabolism. Endocrinologist’s are MD’s who specialize in the Endocrine system, but when I was devolving into the worst aspects of Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia and said so, I was told by one I had called that she could not see me for two months and so far, this unreasonable wait has never been the case with a seasoned ND who, more holistically, will even consider and test for ‘all’ balanced functions of the body. Best of luck to you in finding this seriously necessary care in the near future.

    2. Endocrinologist and Neurologist: Sounds like a type of low thyroid functions that can be due to a permanent but treatable thyroid condition, or a short term low thyroid due to say a recent pregnancy. If you are borderline you can have severe symptoms yet your regular MD will not treat you, because it is temporary yet can become permanent if NOT treated. Vicious cycle. Your MD may tell you it does not need treating, tell your MD you are entitled to a 2nd, even a 3rd opinion as stated on the plaque on one of your MD’s walls,stating MD Ethics and Patient rights the MD is bound to uphold. Mmmm, could be diabetes of a form but you would STILL see an Endocrinologist whom usually needs to have a referral by your usual MD. Or an Obstetrician or Gynecologist to check out other hormone issues that can cause this but an Endocrinologist, a good one, will usually check ALL possible hormone imbalances, as well as check for Lupus and Sjogren’s Disease ( Pronounced Show-Gruns ). Naturally, Cancer is 1st ruled out. All these tests can be preformed in one day now and sometimes even the results can as well.
      I would not think of you having to see a Dermatologist or Naturalists as Skin conditions do not usually cause joint pain and only occasional EXTERIOR head pain. These conditions can be dangerous so it would be best to see a Neurologist before any Naturalist about any pathologies.
      An Endocrinologist and Neurologist are the best ways to go in my opinion and can also rule out multiple sclerosis (MS ) as tingling hands and feet can be a symptom of MS.

    3. Nail Psoriasis‎ can look a lot like nail fungus. Psoriatic arthritis can cause joint pain. Also, Scalp Psoriasis can cause hair loss. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. Try a different Dermatologist, a Rheumatologist and/or an Endocrinologist.

  27. I have been going in to doctors since I had a lap. gallbladder removal in 1993 due to a dysfunctional gallbladder (no stones). I am now really weak,in constant pain,infections,skin rash,chronic cough,and swelling.We have to go to ER a lot when the pain is out of control,sometimes they admit me for a few days or they will just admit IV’s and run a couple bags of fluid with antibiotics and my regular pain meds just more of it.The last hospital stay the releasing doctor told us it is an injury and it can be fixed just no one here is qualified to fix it,and I need to find a guru out of this area that can fix me.I do have 13-24 surgical staples in my liver area from that surgery.I do not know if that is the injury or not or if that is even normal.
     This morning I was watching Good Morning America and all these people are on there for weight loss and it kinda got to me I just wish there was some place for people like me to go to.I feel like I am sitting here dieing from this at the age of 50.Do you know where I can go to find a guru as they say?Thank you for you’re time!!!
                                                                              Diane

    1. Usually if you go to a University Medical center you can get good healthcare there or they will at least thoroughly check it out. If you can’t get good healthcare where you are visit a relative and stay with them. It’s better than just suffering in place and blaming it on where you live.

  28. This scares me…I have some of these symptoms and my doctor cannot find out what is going on with me! I keep seeing all these different doctors and no really reason for my symptoms have been given nor is there a diagnosis…I would hate to think that it is any of the above cancers!   

  29. I’m a 17 year old female that is having serious chest pains. The pain has been occuring for more than a year now. How would i know if its cancer? If its not cancer then what is the other possiblities of my chest pain?

    1. I don’t know if you are still having pain…after two years I hope you are better:) but if anyone else has chest pain for long periods of tine and have had your heart checked, have youe dr check your anas. I. did. lupus was something that never crossed my mind,let alone knew that it causes long term chest pain…good lucm your ana count are your antibodies in your blood that let a dr know if you have something autoimmune going on such as lupus,ms,psoriasis,fibro,etc

  30. PEOPLE:  Keep a journal of what you go to the doctor for (let them know it) and you will get better treatment.  A journal is a dated legal document a the court of law.  Flag

  31. PEOPLE:  Keep a journal of what you go to the doctor for (let them know it) and you will get better treatment.  A journal is a dated legal document a the court of law.  Flag

  32. PEOPLE:  Keep a journal of what you go to the doctor for (let them know it) and you will get better treatment.  A journal is a dated legal document a the court of law.  Flag

  33. Great article.  Wish I had seen it sooner. The ovarian cancer symptoms were right on point (bloating, abdominal pain).  My oncologist told me that the ovarian cancer symptoms don’t usually manifest until it’s already reached stage 3 (which was my case).  Luckily I was treated aggressively and am in remission.  Please get yourself checked if you have these symptoms, especially if ovarian cancer already runs in your family. 

    1. Kathy I have had severe ab pain & some bloating for over a year now. I have had so many tests but they can not find what is causing all the pan. I am just about to the end of my rope. Would like to know more about your symptoms and how they finally caught your cancer. This has been my biggest fear, but all the dr’s I have been to have said they would of caught It by now if it was cancer in that area. I look forward to some advice from you. No cancer runs in my family either but I guess it can start with anyone!

  34. If you have hemorrhoid(s) – make sure you get them checked by your doctor. Thought I had one – my GP couldn’t be bothered to look at it. Simply gave me a routine referral to a rectal surgeon. TWO MONTHS later, I finally saw that doctor. It turned out to be anal cancer. I was undergoing treatment (radiation & chemo) when Farrah Fawcett died of it. Contrary to what the media said when writing about Ms. Fawcett – it IS NOT a rare cancer. In fact, it is increasing in occurrence. The primary group is Caucasian women in their 50s and 60s.

  35. Well, now that we are all paranoid about our every slight symptom being cancer, thanks!

  36. At age three, my mother noticed I didn’t heal from bruising so much so that bruises that were a month old often had two or three others on top of the first. My grandmother insisted they take a blood test when the doctor said nothing was wrong. When the doc said no- they went to another doctor for an emergency blood panel. Two weeks later, I was transferred to Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills. 24 years later, my grandmother still take credit for being the one to insist on a cancer screening. Despite the great publicity for breast, ovarian and colon cancers- Leukemia is still one of the top killers of children. It’s silent, deadly and kids often can’t understand how to explain their pains or aches. This was the first article I’ve read that included Leukemia. 

  37. Very informative.  Thank you so much for this easy to read and easy to understand information.

    1. I have been in hospital 3 times since last November with a recurring infection
      They dont known if the source is coming from my bowel or womb/fallopian
      Tubes , ive had previous operations and one doctor actually said to me “your insides are in a mess ” I was shocked and frightened as this
      Left me feeling hopeless , im trying to be positive and carry
      On with life ,its scary though

  38. Another sign that is often ignored:  Blood in urine (especially with no pain.) A symptom of bladder cancer…and often ignored and/or misdiagnosed.

  39. Another sign that is often ignored:  Blood in urine (especially with no pain.) A symptom of bladder cancer…and often ignored and/or misdiagnosed.

    1. I feeel sympothy for anyone going through a medical obsticles. I know it is not easy from experience. You are your best advocate and the sad truth is sometimes you have to go to many doctors to be diagnosed. Look for top doctors, I went to Dr after Dr. before a very large rare tumor was discovered, growing at least half my life and the “Top Doctors” and “Top Hospitals” did not fidn it until I scheduled back surgery, which thank Jesus, pre-op testing found the tumor, the size of a grapefruit. It;s unfortunate that chronic pain and illness comes with a stigma but with sponsers, people that have a better understanding due to illness or a loved one battling a medical mystery, you might feel a sense of peace. Keep your head up to all!!!!
      Ok, I have had blood in urine for quite some time, stopped after tumor was removed but now it’s back and has been again, still undiagnosed really but signs keep pointing to infection, kidney disease or cancer. Now, last time I did a lot of research all symptoms pointed tumors, cancer or urelogic disease, includign kidney stones. I’ma bit concerend but don;t want to seem like a hypocopndriac either. Everyone was about to think I was crazy until the tumor was discovered and it validated my concerns. So keep your head up and let me know if anyone knows the real causes of blood in urine or what I should discuss with my doctor. Still in chronic pain almost 2 years after the tumor was removed from my sacrum-pelvis but still have a bad back and arthritis so I can imagine how some of you must feel. Vent to someone you can trust an whom is not judgemental.

      1. Hi Anne, I have had horrible pelvic pain along with hip and leg pain. I have had several MRI’s, cat scan, transvaginal ultrasound, blood work,etc. & I have gotten no real results or relief from the pain. I understand how a person can be viewed as a hypochondriac. Most have come up with the problem being “referred pain from my back.” I also have considered having a back surgery but a 2nd opinion from a neurosurgeon said a back surgery would not get rid of my pelvic/hip/leg pain. I am soooo frustrated, don’t know what to do. Would like to know about your symptoms before they found your tumor & where it was. I look forward to hearing back from you so I might have a better idea as what to do now, the past 13 months have been hell.
        .

        1. Anne & Debbie, I would suggest you go to the Mayo Clinic for correct diagnosis, then they will work with doctors in your hometown to carry out treatment plan. Mayo has locations in Arizona, Florida & Minnesota. Saved my life & several of my friends. We all went to Mayo in Scottsdale, AZ. They have online form you fill out to request initial appointment directly with them. Good luck!

    2. Yes…but I’ve had blood in my urine diagnosed almost every time I’ve gone to my PCP, scared to death BUT I also have small kidney stones and one smal stone stuck right at opening of my urethra and that is why I’m bleeeding says my doc.

      1. Please see another doctor. I too suffer from kidney stones. If you have a stone stuck in your urethra or ureter then it must be removed. If your body cannot rid itself of the stone then a urologist should go and get it before it causes severe anemia or infection. I have had many doctors. If a doctor tells me it’s all in my head or continually blows me off without taking action. I WILL TAKE ACTION BY LEAVING. There are many good caring doctors out there. You may have to search and search but dont stay with someone who allows you to continuously bleed without offering help, suggestion, or send you to another specialist. Tell them you want to see a urologist NOW.

  40. I complained of 9 of these symptoms to a wide variety of doctors (different types) for a number of years and still they did not catch my cancer until I broke a rib and it did not heal. I was already in stage 4 at that point, with cancer in my lungs, liver, kidney, spine, under my arm.

    1. One word:   lawsuit if you can provide witnesses that you told them.  PEOPLE:  Keep a journal of what you go to the doctor for (let them know it) and you will get better treatment.  A journal is a dated legal document a the court of law.  

        1. Lawsuits also keep bad doctors in check.  This industry is self-policing…always a bad idea.  BTW, doctors in this country get paid better than in any other, by far.  They also have to pay for very expensive education, unlike in most other industrialized nations.  If education costs were controlled, and higher education was offered to everyone, you would see a dramatic decline in healthcare costs.

          1. And . . . lots of very good doctors have to pay exorbitant insurance premiums. Lawsuits have to be kept in check. Most, not all, are frivolous and have no merit.

        2. Frivolous lawsuits maybe- but malpractice that results in the death of a patient is totally warranted. Should the patient foot the massive bills that result from a misdiagnosis?

          1. Sometimes, yes. Misdiagnosis does not necessarily mean malpractice. Get a clue. Doctors are not psychic. They are not gods. They cannot reasonably be expected to get every diagnosis right. To expect them to be miracle workers is an extreme disservice to people who, for the most part, take their jobs very seriously and care a great deal about the well-being of their patients. People who think doctors should know everything and catch everything and if they don’t cry malpractice is one of the reasons lawsuits are so common and malpractice insurance is so high — leading to high medical costs for all of us.

          2. You should also “get a clue.” Misdiagnosis most certainly can be malpractice. My daughter-in-law passed away last January from a misdiagnosis of Synovial Sarcoma
            which lead to its metastasizing and ending up as Stage IV Liver Cancer. She left behind two small children and a grieving husband. We all feel the doctor lost interest in her as a patient the moment he learned she had no insurance. As a family, we are not “crying malpractice” nor are we really concerned with keeping her doctor’s malpractice insurance rates low.

          3. My heart goes out to you. :-(
            I too was misdiagnosed 9 months before a better doctor (thank God!) listened to me and didn’t treat me like a hypochondriac. By the time my brain tumor was diagnosed, it was sizable and was causing all kinds of problems. No one thought I’d be around at the end of 1995. That doctor saved my life, although she insists she was just doing her job. I am forever grasteful for her. The only saving grace is the idiot who misdiagnosed me is now retired and can’t harm anyone else.

          4. My 27 year old son passed away last year at a local los Angeles hospital. He had no health insurance. He died 12 hrs later from a blood infection. I too believe he was not treated properly because he wasn’t insured. I could not find a medical malpractice atty who had the time to look at his case . I believe the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit here is 6 months. It was extremely overwhelming to have to deal with my only child’s death by myself but to try and chase down an atty to simply look as at his medical records was and still is next to impossible. He developed a blood infection as a result of a spider bite. It was very noticeable that his head and neck were swollen. I’m still dealing with grief but still feel very guilty that I was not more aggressive with finding an atty. I truly believe they could have done more to save his life. I

          5. We spend $2.6 trillion a year on health care in the US. Medical malpractice defense and payouts cost $5.8 billion a year. That’s just barely .2% of total health spending a year in the whole country. You are the one that needs to get a clue and realize the medical malpractice is a right wing talking point and a complete red herring when it comes to controlling health costs. Even if we completely outlawed medical malpractice lawsuits, it would have virtually zero impact on health costs in the US.

          6. If there were no lawsuits,Malpractice insurance wouldn’t be necessary Which would drive down overhead and thus reduce medical costs. It would have a huge impact.

          7. So wrong you are. Texas enacted tort reform for healthcare, and guess what?? Costs did NOT go down. All it does is hurt the victims and save hospitals, medical equipment mfg’s, etc money they deserve to pay to the victim.

          8. Misdiagnosis doesn’t always mean you didn’t give your doctor a chance. I was in pain and had increasing symptoms and all my doctor would do is give me a pregnancy test and offer painkillers. No exams, no diagnostics, nothing. Not pregnant? Have some vicodin!

          9. Unfortunately. I was misdiagnosed for a year when I kept going to my lifelong family doctor who I trusted very much. Getting more and more sick and getting no answers or help, I went to a new doctor. Two days later I was having surgery. I had good insurance, but still had out of pocket costs. Attorneys stated I didn’t die so there’s no lawsuit. They also said if I could get a doctor to say my ability to ever become pregnant was gone, I could proceed. I guess saving your own life is the reward in their eyes. IT is, but some money to cover my bills would have been nice as I had to be off work for 3 months.

          10. I am very curious as to how/why you feel your doctor should pay for your medical costs; was he a part/party to causing/creating YOUR illnesses?
            And why would you wait a year in sickness/pain, when you knew within a few visits that he was (obviously) not able to help you?

          11. You suck Kay! This lady is sick and is explaining that she was telling the doctor her symptoms but that it was left on deaf ears. What about that is hard to understand? How could you not think that a doctor that does not listen to what you are saying and follow protocol should not be held accountable for his actions or in this case lack there of. Does that answer your questions, snotty? Understand this, When you are in a lot of pain, things do not get done quickly, people in pain do not think rationally or act as you would if you had a clean bill of health so, Don’t ask her stupid questions like that! Have a smidgen of common sense.

          12. She asked good questions. I don’t care how much you liked the doctor. Sounds like BS to me. Who suffers for a year and doesn’t look for another opinion?
            I’m thinking there’s some mental health issues here

          13. When doctor after doctor ignores your symptoms, blatantly lies to you about your condition (and to other people), it becomes depressing. The symptoms or previously diagnosed medical problems, combined with documented proof of serious condition(s) is more than enough to cope with for most people. It takes time to find a decent doctor or set of doctors, good insurance or not. More to the point, there are an awful lot of unethical people working in medical professions. How do I know? I have repeatedly caught them.

          14. I worked for a long time in the medical field 30 years in one job. My pain is sometimes unbearable. I agree we know our own bodies. I have went to several doctors because they don’t want the responsibility of their patients. Now you have to go to a separate doctor for everything. Your own PCP Primary Care Physician, a OB-GYN, a Urologist, a Pain Management, a Gastro doctor etc.. etc…. I found two cysts in my back & all my PCP told me was he was sorry he spoke to many specialists & surgeons & nine of them will touch me because they are located on my femoral artery in my stomach. I have went to many doctors & they right away want to tell you that you have mental issues!!!!!! And they are quick to give you a referral to another doctor. After going through this same diagnosis for 5 years I have come to my first conclusion doctors have no empathy, no bed-side manner, are down right rude & just want to get you out of their office. Because I asked one doctor questions, I was not rude but when a doctor comes into the room is there (I timed it from the moment he walked in) 3 minutes & after he touched my knee he diagnosed me with Osteo Arthrititis not Rheumatoid. But because I asked questions on what kind of treatment options, how empathetic was he with his patients, why was an x-Ray not done etc. I was called on the phone 5 minutes after I left & told I was not allowed to come on the property again or see any of the other doctors in that building!!!!! REALLY!!!!!!! One doctor diagnosed me with diabetes another one said no. OKAY!!!! Then to top it off regarding the cysts my PCP told me the cysts are not cancerous How did he come up with that since no biopsy has not been done. When I tell them I am in pain from my fibromyalgia I am drug seeking. I ask questions I am seen as uncooperative!!!!!, I know what they pit in a patients chart because I worked in medical records for a long time. I have many things wrong with me medically but because I look fine on the outside they treat me as if I am ignorant & don’t have a lick of sense. After going to get x-rays, blood work, cat scans in all different places then supposedly sent to my PCP I come to the conclusion not one doctor gets together with the other 6 they have sent me to so I don’t get the quality care I need.

          15. Actually, it happens all the time to women. I had obvious symptoms of possible lupus and was told by my Internal Med. Dr. that no, he would not refer my to a rheumatologist, I did NOT have Lupus, get on with your life. Thankfully, we moved to another state, I got sicker and sicker and after the Lupus I actually DID have almost cost my life, I wrote that jerk a letter and reamed him out. I think male doctors are prone to thinking all women with unusual symptoms are hypochondriac.
            If I could have sued him, I might have.How many of us are going around with life threatening diseases while the doctor ignores our issues?

          16. You needed a different lawyer- pain and suffering, lost wages, missed diagnosis are all on the table. Whether you graduate last in your class at med school or law school, the title is the same as the valedictorian.

        3. ..So do bad doctors. But the sad fact is doctors are not anymore intelligent than the average Joe on the street. The difference is that they are supposed to be trained and educated!

    2. One word:   lawsuit if you can provide witnesses that you told them.  PEOPLE:  Keep a journal of what you go to the doctor for (let them know it) and you will get better treatment.  A journal is a dated legal document a the court of law.  

    3. One word:   lawsuit if you can provide witnesses that you told them.  PEOPLE:  Keep a journal of what you go to the doctor for (let them know it) and you will get better treatment.  A journal is a dated legal document a the court of law.  

    4. Oh, “Why_complain”, I am soooo sorry to hear that. I just sent a prayer for you and your healing. May God bless you and heal you. <3

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