Did you know that breast and ovarian cancer can be genetically linked? Having one puts you at higher risk for the other.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making it the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. 1 in 78 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of gynecological cancer-related deaths.
Research shows that early detection leads to better outcomes. Understanding the signs and symptoms of these cancers and knowing your body is key to being able to advocate for your health.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer
Many women know to look for a lump, but breast cancer can present itself in a variety of ways. Here’s what to look out for:
- Changes in the outline or shape
- Changes in the look or feel of the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- Any change in nipple position, such as being pulled up or pointing differently
- Nipple discharge or bleeding from the nipple
- A rash on or around the nipple or on the breast
- Any new or different lumps (can feel like a round lump, string bean, Twinkie, or cluster of uncooked rice)
- Thickening or bumpy areas on the breast or armpit, with or without pain, that differs from the same part of the other breast or armpit
- Moist, red areas on nipple that don’t heal easily
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer is considered the “disease that whispers” because its symptoms are common to experience and are usually not a sign of anything serious. However, if you experience any of these symptoms progressively or persistently for two or more weeks, contact your trusted healthcare provider.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Frequent or urgent urination
What to do if you think you may have breast or ovarian cancer
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, persistently or progressively, talk to your doctor. Be prepared to describe your symptoms, how long you’ve been experiencing them, and your family health history.