It's no fun to think about problems with our health, but the earlier we catch issues, the better our chance of becoming healthy again. As uncomfortable as it is to think about, it's important for women to pay attention to the subtle early signs of breast and ovarian cancer. Both of these issues are best treated when they're caught early on, making it essential for women to be aware of changes in their body that could indicate either of these cancers.
When it comes to breast cancers, we're advised to do at-home self-exams, but it's trickier when it comes to ovarian cancer, as ovarian cancer often has no symptoms in the early stages. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to catch it early. A regular pelvic exam can help check the ovaries and uterus for size, shape, and consistency. Ultrasounds and blood tests can help screen for disease without symptoms.
Many of the early symptoms of breast cancer and ovarian cancer can seem like symptoms caused by other issues — such as bloating, skin rashes, or feeling full — so they're often ignored. Although a little bloating doesn't automatically mean you have cancer, if you notice multiple symptoms that last for more than a few weeks, it can't hurt to see your doctor.
Here are 11 early signs of breast and ovarian cancer that every woman should know about.