Diagnosis of cancer comes as a huge shock as it is one of the deadliest diseases of our times. However, if diagnosed early, many cancers can be successfully treated. In light of this, it’s of critical significance that one is constantly watching out symptoms of cancer.
Here is a list of 11 cancer symptoms that you should NOT ignore. The last one needs special attention as it can be easily misunderstood.
1. Persistent fatigue
Watch out if you are feeling persistent fatigue as it is an important symptom associated with leukemia and colon cancers. This is different from everyday fatigue.
Fatigue associated with cancer doesn’t go away easily even after a good sleep. It stays longer and sometimes it due to blood loss for which there is no obvious reason.
2. Unexplained weight loss
People suffering from cancer tend to lose weight at some stage of the disease. If there is no apparent reason for the weight loss such as physical exercise or change in diet, a quick inexplicable loss of weight can be a worrying sign.
An important sign of caner that can be caught early is an unexpected loss of weight of 10 pounds or more.
3. Thickening or lump
You should examine your body regularly to see if there is a lump developing somewhere. This can be a sign of cancer and you should not delay to report this to your doctor.
New lumps or those changing their size need extra attention. Many of these changes can be benign, so you don’t need to worry too much
4. Constant pain
Though pain is associated with a large variety of diseases, it may also be an indicator of cancer. If there is no apparent reason for the pain or if it doesn’t get better even with treatment, you have a reason to worry.
Depending on which part of the body the pain is localized, it can be a sign of cancer in colon, ovary or rectum or a brain tumor.
5. Frequent fever
Fever at some stage is common in all cancers, especially if it affects the body’s immune system.
Though fever is more commonly seen at late stages of cancer, it can also be an early prediction for leukemia or lymphoma, the two blood cancers. So, seek medical advice if you are often down with fever.
6. Skin changes
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and recognizing it in early stages can sometimes be difficult.
If a mole, wart or freckle changes shape, size, color or its sharp border, it can be a sign of melanoma or some other skin cancer. You should get it checked. Besides skin cancer, such changes can be caused by other caners as well. You need to watch out for symptoms such as itching, bleeding or skin color changing into dark, yellow or red.
7. Altered bowel or bladder habits
If you are suffering from chronic constipation, diarrhea or the reduced size of stool, you should visit a doctor for a check-up as they can be symptoms of colon cancer.
Bladder or prostate cancer manifests itself through pain while passing urine, change in bladder function, and blood in the urine. These could also be a sign of urinary tract infection. However, it is advisable to report these unusual signs to your doctor.
8. Persistent cough or hoarseness
A cough is nothing much to worry about unless it is persistent and does not go away even after treatment. If the cough triggers pain in your shoulder, back and chest, you need to get it checked by a doctor.
9. Unusual Bleeding
Even if it may not be cancer, unusual bleeding is a matter that should be examined by a doctor. Such bleeding is associated with early and advanced stages of cancer.
Blood in stool or urine, coughing up blood, and abnormal vaginal bleeding are symptoms to worry.
10. Indigestion or swallowing problems
Persistent indigestion or swallowing problems can be a sign of cancer. Though in majority of cases, these sings are benign, they can also indicate cancers of stomach, esophagus and throat.
You should watch out for major changes in your body and how you feel. If the symptoms persist, you should visit a doctor. Detecting cancer in early stages significantly increases your chances of successful treatment.