It’s October and that means Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing. But not all cancers are pink.

While many women are taught to perform self-exams on their breasts and to be on the look out for lumps and bumps, they may not be aware of these other important cancer symptoms. In fact, Reader’s Digest recently named these 15 health changes as the “15 Cancer Symptoms Women Are Likely to Ignore.”

Be aware of these commonly ignored cancer symptoms so you can detect cancer early.

15-40 Connection’s goal is to educate people of all ages to recognize cancer early. When it comes to cancer, early detection saves lives.

While many articles touch on ways to “prevent” cancer, it is important to note that sometimes, it is truly out of your control. Between family history, heritage, age, gender, and ethnicity, there are many things that are in your DNA and affect your cancer risk.

That’s why we are sharing these 15 commonly ignored symptoms in hopes that women will become aware of their health and seek medical attention when necessary. 


1. Abnormal periods or pelvic pain

Abnormal periods are not uncommon. Your period can be impacted by many factors such as pregnancy, menopause, obesity, thyroid conditions, endometriosis, benign ovarian cysts, or even stress. However, when you begin to have sudden, significant changes in your cycle, it is time to see a doctor. Changes such as having significantly heavier periods month after month should be looked into. Pelvic pain and irregular bleeding can be a sign of cervical, ovarian, or other gynecological cancers.


2. Bloating

Bloating after eating a heavy meal or during your cycle? That’s normal. Bloating every day with no known cause? Not so much.

Bloating, or consistently feeling constipated, can be a sign of ovarian or uterine cancer. Rich Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society, says, “If it’s been a few weeks and isn’t getting better, that’s a change… that’s not you. Ask a doctor to take a closer look.”

If you’re popping a Gas-X everyday, it’s time to see a doctor.


3. Blood in the stool

Seeing blood in your stool can be scary. However, many people are quick to blame hemorrhoids or constipation.

While hemorrhoids are extremely common (roughly 75 percent of the population will get them at some point in their lives), blood in the stool should never be dismissed without seeking medical attention. Blood in a bowel movement is never normal and should always be checked out.

Blood in the stool could signal serious problems such as colon cancer, which is becoming increasingly common in people under the age of 50.


4. Breast dimpling, discoloration, or other changes

Women are very aware that lumps and bumps in the breast can be a sign of breast cancer. However, breast dimpling is a lesser-known symptom that should be taken seriously.

Other breast cancer symptoms include swelling, tenderness, skin discoloration, and even nipple inversion. It’s important to remember that if you have these symptoms it does not mean that you definitely have cancer. However, it’s important not to overlook these symptoms just because they do not seem important. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health!


5. Chronic coughing

Is it the common cold, allergies, the flu, or something more?

Everyone gets sick from time to time. But if you develop a cough that lasts two weeks or more and do not have any other typical cold symptoms, it may be a sign of lung cancer or leukemia. Coughing up blood is also a red flag that something needs immediate attention.


6. Chronic headaches

If you have no history of migraines and typically do not get headaches, a sudden onset of chronic headaches could signal that something is wrong. For Joel, sudden onset headaches were a sign of lymphoma. Dave McGrath was diagnosed with brain cancer after seeing a doctor for his headaches and double vision.

If you have already been diagnosed with migraines and your treatment is working, there likely isn’t any reason to be concerned. However, if you have never had a problem with headaches and suddenly find yourself desperate for a dark, quiet room, this health change should be discussed with your doctor.


7. Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty swallowing can be caused by a simple sore throat, but if it persistent it may be a sign of throat, stomach, or lung cancer. For Leah and Andy, difficulty swallowing was caused by thyroid cancer.

Always use the two-week rule – if it lasts for more than two weeks, it’s time to see a doctor. Even if the difficulty is being caused by a non-cancerous infection, early detection will help you diagnose it and begin treatment so you will feel better, sooner!


8. Excessive bruising

If you’re clumsy, it’s probably not too much of a surprise, or concern, if you find a few random bruises here or there. But if you start to notice bruises popping up all the time, especially in bizarre places such as your hands or fingers, it could be something serious.

Excessive bruising can be a sign of anemia, or more seriously, leukemia.


9. Frequent fevers or infection

cancer symptoms women ignore: frequent fevers or infectionsDo you find yourself taking crazy amounts of pain relievers or fever reducers? Besides likely doing some serious damage to your liver, you are not helping your body by treating something without determining the cause first.

Frequent fevers and infections can be an early sign of leukemia or lymphoma, which weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

Brenna, a lymphoma survivor, revealed in a recent 15-40 Connection cancer survivor video that one of the first signs of her cancer was frequent and unusual infections, such as pink eye and strep throat, as well as persistent fevers. If you begin to have seemingly random illnesses one after another, bring up your concerns with a doctor.


10. Noticeable skin changes

You probably learned the ABCs in elementary school… but do you know the ABCDEs? The ABCDEs of Melanoma help you tell the difference between a suspicious spot and a run-of-the-mill freckle.

Asymmetry: one half doesn’t look like the other
Border: irregular edges, blurry or sketchy
Color: varied and inconsistent, both black and brown
Diameter: bigger than the size of a pencil eraser – 6mm
Evolution: any mole that changes over time

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. By performing routine self-exams and reporting any changes to your doctor, you can detect cancer early and save your own life.


11. Persistent fatigue

Let us begin by saying that just because you feel tired doesn’t mean you have cancer.

That being said, you should see a doctor if you find yourself feeling absolutely exhausted every day, even after a good night’s sleep, for more than two weeks.

There are many things that can cause you to feel tired. Some of the most common medical causes of fatigue are anemia and depression. However, cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma often present as a change in energy level. Try to remember how you feel when you feel great, this way you will be able to easily recognize changes in your health.

Instead of increasing your trips to the local coffee shop to keep yourself awake, make an appointment to see your doctor and determine the cause.


12. Postmenopausal bleeding

If you have gone through menopause, meaning that you have not had a period for one year, a sudden onset of vaginal bleeding should always be brought up to a doctor.

Postmenopausal bleeding can occur as a result of hormone replacement therapy, infections such as a UTI, or noncancerous growths called polyps. However, postmenopausal bleeding can also be a sign of serious medical problems such as cervical or uterine cancer.

Do not ignore postmenopausal bleeding. Seek help quickly to get a diagnosis and treatment plan, no matter what the cause.


13. Sores or pain in the mouth

If you get a cold sore from time to time that heals after treatment, there is nothing to worry about.

The concern comes when you notice a sore that doesn’t heal, or any pain in the mouth that sticks around for more than two weeks. It’s also important to pay attention to swelling, numbness, or pain in the jaw.

It’s also important to perform an oral self-exam each month, especially if you use tobacco products, are a heavy drinker, or have a history of oral cancer in your family.


14. Stomach pain or nausea

This is our most-clicked symptom on the 15-40 Connection website. And while we don’t want to jump to conclusions, we have a hunch as to why: everyone experiences stomach pain or nausea at some point.

In fact, upset stomachs are so common it would be irresponsible to claim that they mean you have cancer. More often than not, you probably ate something your body didn’t agree with, are experiencing more stress than usual, or have a gastrointestinal disorder such as IBS.

However, if you notice sudden and persistent stomach cramps that last more than two weeks, or are experiencing nausea that just won’t go away, it’s time to see a doctor. Stomach pain and nausea can be signs of leukemia or esophageal, liver, pancreatic, or colorectal cancer.


15. Unexplained weight loss

Weight loss is often overlooked by women because they see it as a good change, not a concerning one. Both sexes are more likely to see a doctor for weight gain than they are for weight loss.

However, weight loss, as well as sudden or unusual changes in appetite, can be a symptom of cancer. Esophageal, pancreatic, liver, and colon cancer can all cause weight loss, as well as leukemia or lymphoma.


Early detection saves lives. Learn how you can be an empowered patient with the 3 Steps Detect system:

The most important takeaway from these 15 symptoms is that any health change can be a symptom of cancer. In fact, a subtle but persistent health change that lasts two weeks or more is the most common cancer symptom.

By recognizing what your ‘normal’ is and knowing how you feel when you feel great, you will be able to easily recognize changes in your health. Once those health changes last more than two weeks, it is time to see a doctor.

Remember – when it comes to early cancer detection, your best chance is you!

What’s in it for you?

Much more!

The Power of You! 100% of the proceeds from this event support 15-40 Connection’s lifesaving education. When it comes to cancer symptoms, knowledge is power. 15-40 Connection is saving lives by educating people on how to recognize cancer symptoms early.

Information about the sponsorship opportunities, golf and gala guest packages and gala tickets are below. You can also donate items for our auctions or larger-than-life goody bags. To donate, please email us at info@15-40.org.

PRESENTING SPONSOR | $50,000

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and print/media material including*:

Event brochure, auction program, gala program, website, lead position on main sponsor sign at both golf courses, golfer “Goody bag”

12 Player spots with choice of golf course

12 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

12 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

24 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

Opportunity to place branded item(s) in the “Goody bags” distributed to all golfers

GALA SPONSOR | $25,000

Logo and/or name recognition on all signage and in all printed/media material including*:

Event brochure, auction program, gala program, website, main sponsor sign at both golf courses

8 Player spots with choice of golf course

8 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

8 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

16 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

Opportunity to place branded item(s) in the “Goody bags” distributed to all golfers

TOURNAMENT SPONSOR | $25,000

Logo and/or name recognition on all signage and in all printed/media material including*:

Event brochure, gala program, website, main sponsor sign at both golf courses

8 Player spots with choice of golf course

8 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

8 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts\

16 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

Opportunity to place branded item(s) in the “Goody bags” distributed to all golfers

TOURNAMENT LUNCH & SNACK SPONSOR | $10,000

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and print/media material including*:

Event brochure, gala program, website, main sponsor sign at both golf courses, thank you acknowledgement at lunch and snack stations

4 Player spots with choice of golf course

4 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

4 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

8 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

Opportunity to place branded item(s) in the “Goody bags” distributed to all golfers

GALA & GOLF ENTERTAINMENT SPONSOR | $6,000

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and print/media material including*:

Event brochure, auction program, gala program, main sponsor sign at both golf courses, thank you acknowledgement
announcement from featured entertainers

2 Player spots with choice of golf course

2 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

2 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

4 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

GOLF CART SPONSOR | $6,000

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and print/media material including*:

Event brochure and gala program

2 Player spots with choice of golf course

2 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

2 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

4 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

GOLF BALL SPONSOR | $4,000

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and printed/media material including*:

Event brochure, gala program, golf ball distributed with “Goody bag” to each golfer

1 Player spot with choice of golf course

1 “Goody bag” jam packed with fun and valuable items

1 Free Prize Drawing Ticket for golfer for a cache of gifts

2 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfer on tournament day

SCOREBOARD SPONSOR | $1,000

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and print/media material including*:

Event brochure, gala program, multiple scoreboard signs strategically placed at both tournament golf courses

2 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

TEE SPONSOR | $750

Logo and/or name recognition on selected signage and print/media material including*:

Event brochure, gala program, on two tees sponsorship signs placed at the 1st tee box at both golf courses

2 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

*Printing and/or embroidering deadlines apply to the above.

PLATINUM SUPPORTER | $16,000

Logo and/or name recognition in event brochure, gala program, main sponsor sign at both golf courses*

8 Player spots with choice of golf course

8 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

8 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

16 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

GOLD SUPPORTER | $8,000

Logo and/or name recognition in event brochure, gala program, main sponsor sign at both golf courses*

4 Player spots with choice of golf course

4 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

4 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

8 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

SILVER SUPPORTER | $4,000

Logo and/or name recognition in event brochure, gala program, main sponsor sign at both golf courses*

2 Player spots with choice of golf course

2 “Goody bags” jam packed with fun and valuable items

2 Free Prize Drawing Tickets for golfers for a cache of gifts

4 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfers on tournament day

BRONZE SUPPORTER | $2,000

Logo and/or name recognition in event brochure, gala program, bronze sponsor sign at both golf courses*

1 Player spot with choice of golf course

1 “Goody bag” jam packed with fun and valuable items

1 Free Prize Drawing Tickets golfers for a cache of gifts

2 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

Breakfast, lunch, dinner for golfer on tournament day

*Printing and/or embroidering deadlines apply to the above.

GALA & AUCTION TICKETS | $650

2 Gala guests

Parting gift for each Gala couple

PRIVACY POLICY

Information we collect and how we use it.

The 15-40 Connection, Inc. may collect information independent of Blackbaud- the host for donations. For Blackbaud’s privacy policy, please visit Blackbaud Privacy Policy.

Contact and Personal Information
You may choose to provide contact information (such as your name, address, telephone number and email address) on this web site. Providing this information is strictly voluntary, and the failure to provide information in most instances will not restrict your use of the website. We will not ask you for any credit card number, social security number, driver’s license number or other financial account number on the website except through the donation pages that are hosted by our partner, Blackbaud.  From time to time, 15-40 Connection may host contests or sweepstakes, which will require you to provide information to participate. Here are some of the ways you may provide the information and the types of information you may submit. We also tell you how we may use the information.

Contact Us
If you email us through the “Contact Us” page on this site, we ask you for information such as your name and email address so we can respond to your questions and comments. You may choose to provide additional information as well. You should not provide any credit card number, social security number or other financial account number when using the contact us screen.

Send Content to a Friend Questionnaires and Surveys
We may ask visitors to our web site to complete online surveys and opinion polls about their activities, attitudes and interests. These surveys help us serve you better and improve the usefulness of our site. In conducting these surveys we may ask you for your name and email address. We do not keep any personal information about you in connection with your participation in a 15-40.org survey unless you specifically agree to provide that information.

Send Content to a Friend
You can send certain content to your friends. To do so, we ask you to provide your name and your friend’s email address. We use this information to send the content to your friend.

Public Areas Sweepstakes or Contest Registration
We occasionally may conduct sweepstakes or contests that ask visitors to our web site to complete registration forms that include name, mailing address, phone and email address and additional personal information about their age, activities, attitudes and interests. Registration questions allow us to contact you if you are a winner and help us serve you better and improve the usefulness of our site. Your name, age and home state may be posted on our web site if your name is drawn as a winner.  In conjunction with your Contest Registration, we will also register you as a user of the 15-40 website.  As a registered user, we may also send you news, announcements, requests for donations or similar communications as a result of your Sweepstakes or Contest Registration.  Instructions for opting out of receiving this information appears in the section titled “Opting Out”. We will not sell your information to any other person.

Public Areas
The 15-40 Connection is currently in the process of expanding the content in its public areas (including on social media).  You may comment on a blog, or share your personal information on the 15-40 Connection web site or other social channels. Sharing information is helpful to other visitors to the 15-40 Connection web site who may learn from you experiences. We do keep your personal information in association with your submission.  We do not share your contact information with others without your permission; however, if you provide contact information in a public area, we do not automatically remove it.  Any person visiting the 15-40 Connection public areas would be able to see the information. You may not provide any credit card number, social security number or other financial account number about yourself or another in a public area.  Such information will be violation of our Terms of Use.

Donations
You may choose to make a donation to the 15-40 Connection by visiting pages marked to provide donations.  When making a donation, we will ask for your name, mailing address, phone number and email address and may ask for additional information about your age, activities, attitudes and interests.  You may also choose to have your donation processed with ACH transfers of credit card transactions, which will necessitate that you provide financial account numbers, such as a credit card number, bank account number and bank routing number (“Financial Account Information”).  In conjunction with your Donation, we will also register you as a user of the 15-40 website.  As a registered user, we may also send you news, announcements, requests for donations or similar communications.  Instructions for opting out of receiving this information appears in the section titled “Opting Out”. We will not sell your information to any other person.  We will not store any of your Financial Account Information.

Registrations
From time to time, we may offer you other methods to become a registered user for the website.  When registering, we will ask for information that includes name, mailing address, phone and email address and may ask for additional personal information about your age, activities, attitudes and interests.  As a registered user, we may also send you news, announcements, requests for donations or similar communications as a result of your Sweepstakes or Contest Registration.  Instructions for opting out of receiving this information appears in the section titled “Opting Out”.

Other Information
We collect certain aggregate and non-personal information when you visit this web site. Aggregate and non-personal information does not relate to a single identifiable visitor. It tells us such things as how many users visited our site and the pages accessed. By collecting this information, we learn how to best tailor our web site to our visitors. We collect this information either through “cookie” technology or with “web beacons,” as explained below.

Web Beacons
Certain pages on our site contain “web beacons” (also known as Internet tags, pixel tags and clear GIFs). These web beacons allow third parties to obtain information such as the IP address of the computer that downloaded the page on which the beacon appears, the URL of the page on which the beacon appears, the time the page containing the beacon was viewed, the type of browser used to view the page, and the information in cookies set by the third party. We use log files to store the data that is collected through web beacons. The 15-40 Connection may also use third party web beacons to help manage online advertising. These web beacons would be provided by our ad management partners and Google Analytics. These files enable Google Analytics to recognize a unique cookie on your web browser, which in turn enables us to learn which advertisements bring users to our web site. The cookie on your web browser was placed by the 15-40 Connection, or by another advertiser who works with Google Analytics. With both cookies and web beacon technology, the information that we collect and share is anonymous and not personally identifiable. It does not contain your name, address, telephone number, or email address.

Cookies
Like many organizations, we use browser cookies on this web site. Browser cookies are bits of text that are placed on your computer’s hard drive when you visit certain web sites. We use browser cookies to tell us, for example, whether you’ve visited us before or if you’re a new visitor and to help us identify site features in which you may have the greatest interest. Browser cookies may enhance your online experience by saving your preferences while you are visiting a particular site. The “help” portion of the toolbar on most browsers will tell you how to stop accepting new browser cookies, how to be notified when you receive a new browser cookie, and how to disable existing browser cookies. Remember though, without browser cookies, you may not be able to take full advantage of all our web site features. We may also use flash cookies on our web site to enhance your online experience. Flash cookies are similar to browser cookies, except that they can store data more complex than simple text. Flash cookies, by themselves, cannot do anything to or with the data on your computer. In addition, flash cookies cannot access or remember your email address or other personal information unless you provide the information on this site. We use flash cookies to provide you with a better user experience.

Information We Share
We do not sell or otherwise disclose personal information about our web site visitors, except as described here. We may share information provided by our visitors to 15-40.org with service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf, including but not limited to performing routine maintenance, design, web site management and public relations. In addition, we may disclose information about you (i) if we are required to do so by law or legal process, (ii) to law enforcement authorities or other government officials, or (iii) when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical harm or financial loss or in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity.

We reserve the right to transfer any information we have about you in the event we sell or transfer all or a portion of our business or assets. Should such a sale or transfer occur, we will use reasonable efforts to direct the transferee to use personal information you have provided through this web site in a manner that is consistent with this Privacy Statement.

If you provide Financial Account Information, this information will be shared with our service providers for processing the transaction.  We will not store your Financial Account Information.

Children’s Privacy
This web site is not directed to children under the age of thirteen and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of thirteen on the site. If we become aware that we have inadvertently received personal information from a visitor under the age of thirteen on the site, we will delete the information from our records.

How We Protect Personal Information
We maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, alteration or destruction of the personal information you provide on this web site. We use secure socket layer (SSL) technology for all transactions involving Financial Account Information and registration, including Sweepstakes and Contest Registrations to help keep the personal information you provide on this site secure.

How To Opt-Out of receiving Emails From 15-40 Connection
If you no longer wish to receive email news, announcements, requests for donations or similar email communications please email us at info@15-40.org and write, “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Updates to Our Privacy Policy
This Privacy Statement may be updated periodically and without prior notice to you to reflect changes in our online information practices. We will post a prominent notice on this web site to notify you of any significant changes to our Privacy Statement and indicate at the top of the statement when it was most recently updated.

How To Contact Us
If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, or if you would like us to update information we have about you or your preferences, please Contact Us.

-Last Updated February 2015