“Listen to your body” is good advice, the trouble is, many of us aren’t exactly sure what sorts of body messages can be safely ignored, and which ones really deserve scrutiny.  This list provided by Caring.com, identifies the symptoms women are mos likely to ignore that could be harbingers of cancer.

Knowing that early detection is often the key to defeating cancer – especially breast and ovarian cancers – is all the reason you need to stay attuned to these cancer warning signs.

1. Wheezing or shortness of breath

Pay attention to this symptom because:  Thyroid cancer can cause breathing problems if a nodule or tumor begins to press on the trachea, or windpipe.

2. Chronic cough or chest pain

Pay attention to this symptom because:  These are symptoms of leukemia and lung tumors; they are also symptoms of  a bad cough or bronchitis. How to tell the difference? If the problem is persistent, or cyclic, don’t dismiss it, especially if you experience chest pain that migrates to your shoulder or down the arm (which could indicate lung cancer).

3. Swallowing problems or hoarseness

Pay attention to this symptom because:  It could mean  esophageal, throat or lung cancer.  Don’t ignore a  feeling of something pressing on the throat or stuck in your windpipe – that is an early warning sign  of thyroid cancer or a precancerous thyroid nodule.

4. Frequent fevers or infections

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  it may be a sign of leukemia, which causes bone marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, depleting healthy white blood cells and sapping the body’s ability to fight infection. If you

5. Swollen lymph nodes or lumps on the neck, underarm, or groin

Pay attention to these symptoms because: Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm an be a sign of breast cancer.

6. The “my jeans don’t fit” syndrome: Bloating or abdominal weight gain

Pay attention to these symptoms because: Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer overwhelmingly report abdominal bloating (especially if it’s accompanied by pelvic pain or feeling overly full ) that came on fairly suddenly and continued on and off  in (the diagnostic criteria is more than 13 times over the period of a month) was one of the main ways they knew something was wrong.

7. Pelvic or abdominal pain

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  Although pelvic pain or discomfort is a fairly common symptom of innocuous issues such as fibroids, ovarian cysts, and other reproductive tract disorders,, it cannot be ignored that the  pain and cramping in the pelvis and abdomen can go hand in hand with the bloating that often signals ovarian cancer. Read more on reducing the risk of ovarian cancer.

8. Unusually heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  it might be a tip-off to endometrial or uterine cancer.

9. Rectal bleeding or blood in stool

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  it might be  hemorrhoids, but then again it might be colorectal cancer (the cancer that took Katie Couric’s husband Jay Monahan..
Blood in the toilet alone is reason to call your doctor and schedule a colonoscopy.

10.  Upset stomach or stomachache

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  While ulcers share these symptoms, but stomach cramps or frequent upset stomachs may indicate colorectal cancer or tumors on the liver.

11. A red, sore, or swollen breast

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  Lumps aren’t the only indication of breast cancer but symptoms of the disease often appear  on the surface (especially inflammatory breast cancer).  Watch out for cellulite-like dimpled skin or hot, irritated swellings in the breast area, especially if dark red/purplish  discoloration is present.

12. Nipple changes

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  Flattened, inverted, or ‘turned sideways’ nipples are often precursors to breast cancer, as well as  itchy, scaly, or crusty skin on the nipple. Take all nipple changes seriously and see your doctor immediately.

13. Excessive bruising or bleeding that doesn’t stop

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  bruising in strange places such as fingers and hands  is one of the major warning signs of  leukemia. One woman with leukemia described bruising in strange places.  Red spots on the face, neck, and chest and bleeding gums can be an indication of  leukemia cells crowding out red blood cells and platelets, impairing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and clot.

14. Weakness and fatigue

Pay attention to these symptoms because:  generalized fatigue and weakness is a symptom of  many different kinds of cancer; exhaustion without explanation that doesn’t go away with  getting more sleep is always something to  talk to your doctor about.

15.  Unexplained weight loss

Pay attention to these symptoms because: If you haven’t made changes to your diet or exercise regime but you’re losing weight,  you need to ask why.  Weight loss is an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers;  it’s also a sign of diabetes, as well as a sign of cancer that has metastasized to the liver.Beyond chemo and radiation therapies: Learn more about cancer treatment alternatives such as the Functional Oncology Program at Hospital Angeles.  This cutting edge approach to cancer treatment, developed by Dr. Ariel Perez, distinguished graduate of the Institute for Functional Medicine, represents a fundamental shift in the approach to treatment of the cancer patient.

At its core, Functional Oncology works by integrating the best of what is available in both the traditional western medical approach to cancer patients and natural, alternative, holistic fields. Treatment plans are architected to put the patient in the center of a team of professional partners in the medical fields of Functional Medicine, Structural integrity, Clinical (cellular) Nutrition, Biological Dentistry, Internal Medicine, and Spiritual Psychology.