Cancer is one of the deadliest and scariest diseases. Diagnosis is always a huge shock.
Yet, many cancers are highly curable when caught early. That’s why it’s very important to be on constant alert for cancer symptoms.
Here are the 11 cancer symptoms you should NOT ignore.
Pay special attention to the last one, since it can easily be misinterpreted.
1. Persistent fatigue
Persistent fatigue can be an important symptom of leukemia and colon or stomach cancers. It may manifest itself differently from everyday fatigue.
Cancer-related fatigue often doesn’t go away after a good sleep and lasts longer. Sometimes it is caused by blood loss that’s not obvious.
2. Unexplained weight loss
Most people with cancer are likely to lose weight at some point. If you don’t recall any specific reason, like exercising more, or changing diet, a rapid unexplained weight loss can be a dangerous sign.
An unexpected weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be one of the first signs of cancer and can be used to catch it early.
3. Unexplained thickening or lump
Examine your body regularly. A lump or thickening may be an early or late sign of cancer and should immediately be reported to a doctor.
Pay extra attention to new lumps or thickening or those that are changing in size. Don’t stress over it too early though. Many of those changes in your body can be completely benign.
4. Constant pain
Although pain can be a symptom of a huge variety of diseases, it can also indicate cancer. If the pain is unexplained and doesn’t go away or get better with treatment, it’s a warning sign.
Depending on where the pain is localized, it can be a symptom of a brain tumor, cancer of colon, rectum or ovary.
5. Frequent fever
Almost all people with cancer are likely to have a fever at some stage, especially if cancer affects the immune system.
Although fever is more common at late stages, it can also be an early sign of blood cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma. In any case, if you often experience fever, especially you cannot understand a reason, best to seek medical attention.
6. Skin changes
Skin cancer is considered to be the most common type of cancer and sometimes it can be difficult to recognize it in the early stages.
Anytime you have a freckle, wart, or mole that changes color, size, or shape, or if it loses its sharp border, then you should have it checked out for melanoma or some of the other types of skin cancer. However, besides skin cancers, other cancers can also cause skin changes. Pay attention to signs and symptoms which include: darker, yellowish or reddened skin, itching, bleeding, etc.
7. Change in bowel or bladder habits
If you experience long-term constipation, diarrhea or a change in the size of the stool, it may be a good idea to visit a doctor.
These are signs of colon cancer. Symptoms of bladder or prostate cancer include pain when passing urine, blood in the urine or a change in bladder function. Report these types of unusual signs to a doctor, however, keep in mind these could also be a signal of a urinary tract infection.
8. Nagging cough or hoarseness
A cough every once in a while isn’t usually anything to worry about. However, a persistent cough that doesn’t go away is a cause for concern.
Most coughs aren’t cancer, but it should still be evaluated by your doctor. Pay extra attention if cough causes pain in your chest, shoulder or back area.
9. Unusual Bleeding
Unusual bleeding is always something worth investigating, even if it’s not a sign of cancer. However, it can also happen in early or advanced cancer.
Coughing up blood, blood in the stool or urine, abnormal vaginal bleeding are all dangerous signs.
10. Indigestion or trouble swallowing
Indigestion issues that don’t go away could be symptoms of cancer. Potential causes are cancers of the esophagus, stomach, or throat.
However, in the vast majority of cases, indigestion or swallowing problems indicate something other than cancer.
11. Other Symptoms
These signs and symptoms we just reviewed are the more common ones, appearing in cancer patients. However, there’s a huge variety of other possible symptoms.
Swollen feet, for example, are not necessarily a symptom of cancer, but rather side effects from cancer treatments, but if you are experiencing unexplained swollen feet, best to consult with your doctor.
Overall, if you notice any major changes in how your body looks and feels, especially if the condition doesn’t go away for a long time – talk to your doctor.
Again, spotting cancer early can significantly increase your chances.