Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. But, the earlier it is is detected, the easier it is to cure. That’s why its important that you be well aware of all the ways that cancer symptoms might present themselves, because you might end up ignoring some of them.
1. Unexplained Weight Loss
Weight loss that happens without a solid reason such as diet or exercise is known to be one of the most common signs of cancer, especially in the lungs, stomach, or pancreas.
Fever is another very common sign of early stage cancer, particularly when related to cancers in the blood such as leukemia or lymphoma. Fever may also be a symptom of early stage kidney or colon cancer.
Fatigue should typically get better with rest. But in cases of extreme fatigue where it doesn’t seem to go away for an extended period of time, it could be a symptom of several different cancers like stomach cancer, leukemia, or colon cancer.
Bone or testicular cancers have been known to cause pain. Headaches that don’t seem to be getting better even with long-term medical treatment could be a symptom of a brain tumor. Similarly, back pain could be a sign of colon cancer or ovarian cancer.
5. Sudden Changes in Skin
A change in your skin or a sudden appearance of a mole may not seem particularly life changing, but when considering that it may be an early sign of skin cancer, it literally can be! Freckles, moles, warts, dark spots that seem to change or appear out of nowhere should always be checked out.
6. Change in Bowel Movements
Changes in the size, shape, and color of your stool could be related to your eating habits, but if you haven’t made any changes to your diet recently, you might want to consult a doctor. This is because it could be an indication of rectal or colon cancer. If you get pain during passing or blood in urine can be related to bladder or prostate cancer.
7. Shortness of Breath
A cancer in or near your lungs may cause you to feel breathless or short-winded. This is because these conditions often hinder the ability for your airway to function effectively by blocking the air tubes. Breathlessness is also common with breast cancer tumors, ovarian or liver cancer.
8. Unusual Bleeding
If you see some blood when you go to the bathroom or spit blood while coughing, you should consult your doctor immediately. In the earlier case, you might have developed colon cancer, and in the latter, lung cancer. Other types of bleeding caused by cancer could be bloody discharge from the nipple in the case of breast cancer, and vaginal bleeding (between periods) in the case of cervical cancer.
9. Lumps That Aren’t Painful
If you notice a sudden lump on your skin, especially if it is in your breast, you should book an appointment with your doctor. Cancerous lumps are often characterized as being hard, but not painful, and being deeply embedded in the soft tissue under your skin. Certain lumps are benign, but its always better for a doctor to tell you that.
10. Difficulty Swallowing
If you’ve been experiencing a difficulty in swallowing when eating, and it isn’t related to a sore throat or something similar, you might want to consult a doctor. Difficulty in swallowing could be an indication of cancers such as esophageal, oropharyngeal cancer, thyroid and laryngeal cancers.
11. Persistent Cough
An annoying cough that seemingly comes out of nowhere, without being related to any other illness like a flu could be an indication of something much more severe. While most of the time, coughs won’t be related to cancer, much like any other symptom, its always better to get it ruled out by a medical professional if it lasts for 3 weeks or more. This is especially important if the cough is accompanied by blood. This is a common sign of laryngeal and thyroid cancer.
12. Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers which present themselves in the form of red/white patches or sores in the mouth could be leukoplakia which can become oral cancer if not treated properly . They may feel painful and even bleed in certain cases, and appear under your tongue or in your gums. Don’t let them develop, as in many cases these are only pre-cancerous, but could develop into cancer later on.
13. Persistent Heartburn
Heartburn is a pretty common ailment that many people have experienced at least once in their lives, but what is not common is to keep experiencing it again and again over an extended period of time, say three weeks or more. This could be a sign of oesophago-gastric cancer, so take yourself to the doctor’s office the first chance you get!
14. Belly Pain and Depression
It might sound like an odd aggregation of symptoms, but if you’re experiencing a combination of persistent belly pain and depression, it could be a sign of pancreatic caner. But, rest assured that it is probably not the case except when there is family history of the illness. It is still advisable to consult a physician.