Cancer in women

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
The American Medical Association recommends regular checkups by your doctor to detect cancer in its early stages, when chances of a cure are best. There are three things you can do to help ensure good breast health: monthly breast self-exams, clinical examinations, and regular mammograms. Having regular exams and Pap smears to check the cervix and uterus is also important. Cancer of the ovaries is particularly dangerous, because it can grow and spread before it's ever detected. Though most feelings of mild pelvic discomfort, bloating, and irregular periods are not due to cancer, any persistent symptoms should be reported to your doctor. Another cancer to watch for is skin cancer, which affects over 800 thousand Americans every year. Luckily, most skin cancer can be prevented by avoiding tanning beds and prolonged sun exposure, and by wearing sunblock and protective clothing. If you develop rough spots or sores that won't heal, have your doctor take a look. Changes in your normal bowel pattern, constipation, diarrhea, or blood in your stool may be early signs of colon or rectal cancer. Smoking is on the rise among women, and is the number one cause of lung cancer. Early signs are a cough that won't go away and coughing up blood. Your best protection is not to smoke. Even other people's smoke can harm you, so avoid smoky places whenever possible. For more information about women's cancer concerns, check with a health care provider.

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