The Truth About Cancer in Pregnancy
While the numbers of cancer in pregnancy aren’t very high, they are slowly rising which is causing concern among many women. Getting information about cancer during pregnancy can be difficult given the fact that up until now there hasn’t been much research done on the matter due to the low number of cases. Also, when it comes to cancer cases each one is different, making it hard to narrow down any specific answers.
Why the Increase In Cancer During Pregnancy?
You can rest easy because the number of cases of cancer in pregnancy is not because pregnant women are at higher risk of developing cancer. It is not the pregnancy itself but rather the age of the women who are getting pregnant these days.
The age factor has the most to do with cancer risks, especially when it comes to certain cancers that tend to strike younger women, such as cervical cancer and breast cancer. We are already at an increased risk of getting cancer once we pass a certain age and since we are living in a time where women are waiting longer and longer to have babies, it happens to be falling at the same time where cancer is more prevalent and likely.
Hide and Seek Symptoms
During pregnancy it’s normal to feel all kinds of things that you wouldn’t normally, like headaches, bloating, upset stomach and even other symptoms like rectal bleeding brought on by hemorrhoids which are common in pregnancy as well. The fact that these same symptoms are also common with certain types of cancer like ovarian cancer, colon cancer and others means that symptoms are often easily brushed off as part of the pregnancy. Also, as your breasts become engorged and even change size and shape during pregnancy, it can become difficult to feel any new lumps or possibly cancerous changes. All of these things can delay diagnosis and treatment which can make things worse.
What You Can Do
Chances are that if you are pregnant then you have been keeping up with your doctor’s appointments and this is the first step. Ultrasounds and pap smears can find cervical cancer, vaginal cancer and ovarian cancer. So making sure you get regular check ups before, during and after pregnancy is important.
Something that many women are guilty of—more so as they get older—is to not like to complain. We don’t want to make a big deal out of the things we feel in case it’s nothing. I bet you do it all the time, don’t you? Well, this can be a huge problem when it comes to diagnosing cancer in pregnancy and otherwise. If you feel something that just doesn’t seem quite right, if you have a nagging feeling that something is wrong or if you experience symptoms that you’re not sure of then you need to bring them to the attention of your physician. Many reproductive and other cancers can cause symptoms that can be somewhat embarrassing to talk about, like bleeding or pain with sex, rectal bleeding and gas. This deters women from getting the help they need, often until it’s too late. You need to stop and put things in perspective for your sake and your unborn baby’s sake. What’s worse—a little embarrassment or cancer? You know the answer.