Health experts say that it is important to pay attention to warning symptoms and signs which could mean undiagnosed cancer. If the cause is cancer it is very important to be early detected by doctors. This will increase the chances of successful treatment.
Even though the symptoms and signs that we will mention in this article do not necessarily mean that the person has cancer, you shouldn’t ignore them. You have to analyze the symptoms if you experience some of them. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Cancer has more than 200 types. However, the most common are prostate, lung, ovarian, breast, colorectal, bladder, kidney, endometrial and pancreatic cancers and leukemia and melanoma as well.
The worst part is that the survival rate for almost all types of cancer (lung cancer especially) is poor, since they are not diagnosed on time. They are discovered in their advanced stage and it is harder to treat them.
We present you some warning signs of cancer which you have to be aware of and react on time if you experience any of them.
1. Unexplained weight loss
This is the first and the most noticeable sign of cancer. It is common among people who have lung cancer or breast cancer.
In most cases weight loss occurs when the cancer spreads to the liver and reduces its functioning and it is especially connected to removing toxins and regulating appetite. In some cases weight loss can be an early sign of many digestive cancers and colon cancer.
It is so common that:
• Approximately 40% of people who have cancer said they lost a lot of weight at the time of the diagnosis
• Approximately 80% of the people who had advanced cancer experienced cachexia also known as general ‘wasting’.
If you haven’t made any changes in your diet or if you don’t try to lose weight by exercising, yet you are still losing weight, you should consult with a healthcare provider. If you lose 10 pounds in one month or even 10% your weight during a period of 6 months you should be worried.
2. Frequent infections or fevers
Even though a fever can mean that your body fights against an infection, a constant or continued fever can be a sign of one cancerous condition also known as lymphoma. In some cases, leukemia which is a cancer of the blood cells can cause symptoms including fevers, frequent infections, aches, fatigue and other symptoms that are similar to flu.
3. Fatigue and weakness
Fatigue and weakness that does not go away even though you’ve slept well and you are rested should be for concern. This can be a sign of different cancers and that is why your doctor will have to take into consideration other symptoms as well.
4. Shortness of breath or wheezing
In some cases shortness of breath and wheezing may be caused by different conditions, they can be connected with lung cancer as well. When the tumor in the lung narrows an airway and presses against, it can cause wheezing – it is a whistling sound which happens during exhalation because of the constricted airways.
5. Chest pain and chronic cough
Sometimes symptoms of cancers such as lung tumor and leukemia can mimic bronchitis or a bad cough. However the problem can continue or come and go in several cycles. You can experience chest pain which will extend down the arm or to the shoulders. If you have some of these symptoms you should consult with a doctor.
If you have hoarse voice or a cough during a period of 6 weeks or more you should consult with a doctor as well. In some cases a hoarse voice can be a symptom of thyroid, laryngeal, lung or esophageal cancer.
Unexplained abdominal bloating that goes on and off during a long period of time can be a sign of ovarian cancer. If the bloating is accompanied by swelling in the abdomen, pelvic pain and feeling full can be different tip-off to this condition. In some cases bloating or pain in the stomach after you eat something can be a symptom of stomach cancer.
7. Chronic heartburn
Even though heartburn is an acid reflux disease symptom in some cases can be related to esophageal or Barrett’s esophagus cancer.
One study that was published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in May 2012 discovered that inflammation of the tissue lining in the esophagus that is caused by chronic heartburn can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
What’s more one study conducted by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found a pathway that is connecting Barrett’s esophagus with the development of esophageal cancer. American Journal of Cell Physiology in 2013 published this research.
8. Bowel problems
If you experience changes in the bowel habits and if they last 4 weeks or longer and there is no normal explanation you should consult with your doctor because it can be a sign of bowel cancer. It is common among older adults.
9. Difficulty swallowing
If you have problems with swallowing, or you feel that the food is stuck in your chest or throat you have to see your doctor because it can be a sign of throat or esophageal cancer. Other symptoms of these cancers are burning sensation or pain when swallowing food.
In many cases esophageal cancer does not cause symptoms at first place. That is why you shouldn’t ignore these symptoms.
It is characterized by whites of the eyes and yellowing of the skin. They are considered as symptom of gallbladder or liver disease, in some cases it can be caused by pancreatic cancer that is interfering with the liver and bile duct.
11. Lumps in the body and unusual swelling
Unusual lumps on the testicles, breasts, neck, groin, underarms, abdomen or other parts should be checked by a doctor.
Sometimes a lump under the arm or enlarged lymph node can be a sign of breast cancer. Sore, red, swollen breasts can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.
12. Changing or new moles or skin spots
If you notice changes on your skin which sometimes cause pain and they are don’t represent a health problem for you, be careful especially when you notice:
• New spots, growths or sores on the skin which won’t heal.
• Changes in border, symmetry, diameter or color of an existing mole.
13. Changes in nails
If you notice unusual changes in your fingernails you have to be careful since they can indicate some types of cancers, including liver, skin or lung cancer. Certain changes can happen because of different reasons but they can be warning symptoms of cancer.
• Brown or black spots under the nails can indicate skin cancer.
• Finger or toe clubbing (enlarged ends) can be connected with lung cancer. Ailments which decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood can cause this problem as well.
• White or pale nails can indicate improper functioning of the liver and that can happen due to different diseases such as liver cancer.
14. Abdominal pain or pelvic pain
Lower abdominal or pelvic pain, along with pelvic heaviness, can be a symptom of ovarian cancer. In some cases can lead to changes in your bathroom habits. Mostly women are prone to developing ovarian cancer if they:
• Have been diagnosed with colon, breast, uterine or rectum cancer.
• Have never been pregnant,
• Have a family history of breast, ovarian or colorectal cancer
Additionally pain in the pelvic area can be a sign of leukemia or uterine cancer.
15. Unexplained pain that lasts more than 4 weeks
In some cases pains and aches can be vague, but if you experience constant and unexplained pain for a longer period of time (more than 4 week) you should consult with a doctor. This sign is related to testicular or bone cancer.
16. Abnormal bleeding
Even though blood in the urine, can be a symptom of infection of the urinary tract it can be caused by kidney or bladder cancer. Blood in stools can be a sign of bowel cancer, even though is related to hemorrhoids.
Bleeding after a menopause or between periods can indicate uterine or endometrial cancer. Vaginal bleeding can happen because of vaginal cancer; however it is a rare sign. Gastrointestinal bleeding can be a sign of colorectal cancer.
Coughing and vomiting blood can be signs of esophageal, stomach and lung cancer. Bleeding and excessive bruising can be symptoms of leukemia. In some cases abnormal bleeding may be caused by other diseases you have to consult with a doctor.
Besides your cancer screening and health check-ups you have to be aware of and keep an eye on these symptoms. If you experience any of them it is extremely important to consult with your doctor.
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