Cancer is a group of diseases that cause abnormal growth of cells that invade or spread to different body parts. It is a chronic condition that can be fatal however if diagnosed on time the chances of successful treatment are greater. Doctors recommend everyone to pay attention to the signs that could be symptoms of cancer. They don’t always mean that you have cancer, but anyway consult your doctor just to be sure that everything is alright.
Cancer comes in 200 different types; however we are going to talk about the most common types: pancreatic, colorectal, melanoma, endometrial, leukemia, prostate, bladder, kidney, ovarian, breast and lung cancer. The majority of these types of cancer are hard to diagnose which is why the treatment is usually unsuccessful.
These are the most common signs of cancer that you should pay attention to. If you experience one or more of them consult your doctor for an advice.
- Unexplained weight loss
If you start losing weight even though you haven’t made any changes in your diet or lifestyle it could indicate that you have breast or lung cancer. Once the cancer reaches the liver it impedes its ability to remove toxins and regulate the appetite which results in weight loss. This can be a sign of colon cancer as well.
Statistics show that 40% of cancer patients, at the time of diagnose, report sudden weight loss and 80% of advanced cancer cases experience unexplained weight loss.
- Fatigue and weakness
If you feel weak and fatigued no matter how much you sleep or rest it could mean that you have cancer.
- Frequent fever and infections
Fever is a sign of an infection the body is trying to get rid of. However, if the fever is persistent it could mean that you have lymphoma. Leukemia also causes flu-related symptoms as well as fatigue, pain, frequent infections and fever.
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
This can be caused by lung cancer which presses against and narrows the airways thus lead to shortness of breath and wheezing.
- Chronic cough and chest pain
Persistent and recurring bronchitis and bad cough could indicate leukemia or lung cancer. Chest pain that expands down the arm or into the shoulder is also a symptom of these types of cancer. Consult your doctor immediately particularly if your voice is hoarse longer than 6 weeks. Hoarse voice can be a symptom of esophageal, laryngeal, thyroid or lung cancer.
Frequent bloating for no reason can be a sing of ovarian cancer as well as abdominal swelling, pelvic pain or feeling full. In this case you should consult your doctor in order to determine whether you have ovarian cancer. Stomach cancer is manifested through bloating or pain after eating.
- Chronic heartburn
In most cases the cause of heartburn is acid reflux. However, if it is too persistent it could indicate esophageal cancer. The Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology conducted a study which explained that chronic heartburn can even increase the risk of esophageal cancer because it causes inflammation on the tissue in the esophagus.
- Bowel issues
If you usually have normal bowel movement, and then you suddenly notice changes that last more than 4 weeks, consult your doctor immediately because it could be a sign of bowel cancer.
- Difficulty swallowing
In case of esophageal or throat cancer the person has problems swallowing or can even feel chunks of food become stuck in the throat. Other symptoms of this cancer are burning sensation or pain during swallowing. In most cases this type of cancer does not show any symptoms before it is too late. Pay attention to the ones we mentioned and don’t ignore them.
In jaundice the whites of the eyes as well as the skin become yellow. It is easy to notice and it indicates issues with the liver or gallbladder however it can also be a sign of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer impedes the liver and bile duct function thus leading to jaundice.
- Unusual swelling or lumps
If you notice a lump or swelling in the following body parts, consult your doctor immediately especially if they last longer than 3 weeks: abdominal area, breast and groin area, neck, testicles and armpits. Armpit lump or enlarged lymph nodes in this area usually indicate breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is manifested through redness and sore and swollen breasts.
- New or changing moles and skin spots
Most of the skin changes are normal and safe, however if you notice the following you should consult your doctor:
- New spots, growths or sores that don’t heal
- Changes in color, diameter, border and symmetry of an existing mole
- Nail changes
The following changes on your nails can indicate liver, lung or skin cancer:
- Black or brown spots under the fingernails indicate skin cancer
- Enlarged ends of the nails area symptom of lung cancer. This issue is triggered by conditions that deprive the blood from oxygen
- White or pale nails are a symptom of poor liver function or liver cancer
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
Abdominal or pelvic pain as well as pelvic heaviness and changes in bowel habits could be caused by ovarian cancer. Women who are more at a risk of this type of cancer are:
- Those diagnosed with colon, uterine, rectal or breast cancer
- Those with a family history of breast, ovarian or colorectal cancer
- Those who have never been pregnant
Pelvic pain can also indicate leukemia or uterine cancer.
- Unusual pain that lasts more than 4 weeks
If you feel pain periodically for no reason for 4 weeks or longer it could be a sign of testicular of bone cancer. Consult your doctor for advice.
- Abnormal bleeding
Urinary infections usually cause bleeding however it can also indicate kidney or bladder cancer. Blood in the stool is a common symptom of hemorrhoids; however it can also indicate bowel cancer. Women who experience bleeding between periods or after menopause might have uterine or endometrial cancer. Colorectal cancer is manifested through bleeding rectal bleeding.
Leukemia symptoms include persistent bruising or excessive bleeding.
Lung, esophageal and stomach cancer symptoms can be vomiting or coughing blood.
Even though it is unusual, the excessive bleeding does not indicate that you have cancer, it can also be a sign of another serious health condition. It is very important to consult your doctor and to perform regular tests and cancer screenings. Paying attention to the sings your body is giving you could save your life so never ignore them.