Cancer is the second most common cause of death, after heart disease. But, if it's detected early enough, medical treatments can usually stop its growth. Here are some early warning signs of cancer to look for.
Sudden Weight Loss
Your body will maintain its weight, for the most part, unless you are dieting to lose weight or overeating. But, if you notice that you are suddenly losing weight for no reason, you will want to get your doctor involved. Rapidly losing weight is never good for your body. And, it's often a sign that your body might be fighting off cancer.
Pay Attention to any Skin Changes
Freckles or spots on the skin are common, and usually harmless. The problem arises when they start to change, or if new spots suddenly appear. If you notice a a new spot or one that seems to be getting larger, taking on a different shape, or changing color, you should have your doctor take a look at it. These can be early warning signs of skin cancer.
Your body is a flawless machine, and will try to tell you if something is wrong. If you are feeling any of these pains, and normal over-the-counter medications aren't helping, you need to be evaluated by your doctor.
- Headache: Any headache that persists or feels different than usual needs to be investigated.
- Back pain: It could be a muscular or skeletal issue. But, it could also be a symptom of bone cancer.
- Pelvic pain: It it persists, it could be a sign of ovarian cancer.
- Body aches: If you have any persistent body pain, you should get your doctor involved. It's always best to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
A Cough That Won't Go Away
A persistent cough that won't go away could be one of the signs of cancer, especially with smokers. You should also let your doctor know if you see any blood in your saliva or mucus after coughing. Even if you don't smoke, a nagging cough that lasts for more than a few days could be an early warning of lung cancer.
Some cancer symptoms in the throat area include having trouble swallowing or suffering from persistent acid reflux. And, if your voice starts to become hoarse or raspy, it could be a signal that your body is fighting cancer. Any of these symptoms could be a sign of cancer, and should be evaluated by a doctor if they persist.
Women should do a self-exam on their breasts monthly, looking for any changes. If any lumps are present, they should also be examined by a doctor. Any redness, irritation, nipple discharge, or pain could also be a sign of breast cancer. Diligent self-exams and routine mammograms are the best ways to prevent breast cancer.
Any bleeding not associated with the normal period cycle should be communicated to your doctor. Also, bleeding after menopause is not normal. Your doctor will test any unusual bloody discharge for the presence of cervical cancer.
Men should perform a self-exam on a monthly basis, looking for any physical changes. Lumps, either on the testicles or the scrotum, as well as any skin color changes should be looked at by a doctor. They could be indicative of testicular cancer.
Of course, for both men and women, this can happen for various reasons. But, if it's persistent for a woman, it could be a sign of ovarian cancer. And for men, undue bloating could be a sign of other cancers.
Changes in Bathroom Habits
Your body usually has a schedule for when you use the restroom. Common cancer symptoms can be sudden changes to that routine. Here are some things to look for.
- For men, a slow stream of urine, or straining to urinate, can be a warning sign for prostate cancer.
- Blood in your urine could indicate bladder or kidney cancer.
- Colon cancer will cause blood in the stool. Your doctor can perform a colonoscopy to detect the presence of cancer cells.
- If you have sudden urges to use the restroom and nothing happens, you'd want to let your doctor know.
- Frequent trips to the bathroom can also be an indicator.
Usually, if you have lymph nodes that are swollen, it just means that your body is fighting off an infection. But, if they persist, it could be linked with leukemia or lymphoma. Any swelling of the lymph nodes on your body need to be reported to your doctor for evaluation.
Most common in smokers, but not exclusive to them, it can manifest itself with white or red blotches inside of the mouth. You should also take note of any lumps, soreness, or jaw fatigue.
Persistent High Fever
A fever is usually just a sign that your immune system is battling an infection. But, if it lasts for too long, it can be a warning sign of blood cancer. Persistent fevers should never be ignored.
Are You Tired all of the Time?
Everyone will get worn down from time to time. But, if you are always tired, even after resting, you should let your doctor know. Fatigue can be a sign that your body is fighting cancer somewhere in your body.
If your blood counts are suddenly dropping, cancer is one possibility of the cause. Your blood counts could be dropping because your body if fighting the growth of cancer cells. Any signs of anemia should be fully investigated.
Changes in Warts or Moles
Most of the time, they are benign. But, if you notice any change in their appearance, it could be your body trying to tell you something. Moles that are multicolored, bleed, or have rough edges are the most likely to be cancerous. Moles and warts can be removed and tested for cancer.
If you are having them a lot, it could be sign that your body is overworking itself fighting off something while you are sleeping. Frequent night sweats could indicate the presence of cancer.
Anal and Genital Itching
Skin cancer can manifest itself in the genital or anal area, causing intense itching. There can also be a change of skin color in the area. If normal anti-itch remedies don't alleviate the itching, you should have the area examined by your doctor.
Sores That Heal Slowly
If your blood is not clotting as it should to form the protective scab over sores, you should get your doctor involved. A few different things could be causing this, including cancer.
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