Cancer is a deadly disease plaguing a large chunk of world population today, many of them suffering the brunt because of late diagnosis. While treatment of this disease can be very expensive and painful, awareness about its early signs and symptoms can be of great help in curbing its spread and nipping it in the bud. The more advanced stage the disease reaches, the lower are the chances of survival. By being aware of the warning signs, one can have the disease detected at an early stage and thus, maximize the chances of successful treatment and survival.
Here are 15 warning signs of cancer that people tend to ignore:
1. Unexplained weight loss
The primary sign of presence of cancer cells in the body is unexplained weight loss, which is manifested mostly when cancer propagates to the liver and affects its ability to clear toxins and regulate appetite. Weight loss is a prominent symptom in patients of lung, breast, colon or digestive cancers.
2. General weakness and fatigue
When a person suffers from chronic weakness and fatigue, which show no sign of improvement even after regular rest, it is time to consult a doctor and get evaluated for this fatal disease.
3. Infections and fever
Another sign that rings a warning bell is recurrent infections and fevers, which may point out towards presence of cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Fevers may be accompanies by aches and flu like signs.
4. Chronic cough and pain in the chest
Certain types of cancers such as that of the lungs or blood, may be characterized by chronic cough or bronchitis. In some more acute cases, there may be a pain in the chest, which may extend to the shoulder and down the arm. Similarly, hoarseness of voice can also be a bad sign, particularly if it extends over a six week period.
5. Shortness of breath and wheezing
Shortness of breath and wheezing may have several causes and one of them could be something as dangerous as lung cancer. There might be a tumor in the lung pressing against the airway, which could be the cause of wheezing sound produced while exhaling.
Heartburn is generally a result of acid reflux, but if the condition becomes a chronic one, it may point out to the risk of esophageal cancer, which is also known as the Barrett’s esophagus.
If you have been suffering from chronic bloating of the abdomen, which seems to be unexplained and come and goes over a period of time, it may point out that ovarian cancer may be the underlying cause. It may be accompanies by pain in the pelvic area and abdominal swelling. If pain and bloating becomes a matter of routine after every meal, it could be caused by stomach cancer.
8. Swallowing problems
Another warning sign of cancer which is usually ignored by people is difficulty in swallowing or feeling that food is stuck in the chest or throat, because it seems to be a small problem. However, it can point to something as complicated as throat or esophageal cancer.
9. Bowel problems
Older people are susceptible to developing bowel cancer and this sit eh reason why they should definitely report any changes in their bowel habits to the doctor, particularly if they have lasted for more than four weeks in a row.
10. Lumps or swelling
Lumps on the breast, groin, underarm, testicles or any other parts of the body or swelling which is unexplained needs thorough examination as it could be caused by cancer in that particular body part.
11. New moles or change in existing ones
If you notice a new mole on the skin or a change in size, color or border of an existing one, it should be checked out by a doctor. Since such skin changes are painless, people tend to ignore them but they can well be a warning sign.
Jaundice is a condition which causes pale yellow coloration of eyes and skin. It can be caused by liver problems but more serious implications like pancreatic cancer cannot be ruled out.
13. Abdominal pain
One of the 15 warning signs of cancer usually ignored by people is pain in the lower abdomen along with heaviness, which can point out to ovarian cancer in women. The probability of the disease is higher in women with family history and those who have never been pregnant. Another reason could be cancer of the uterus.
14. Unexplained pain
If a person has been experiencing persistent pain in any part of the body for more than 4 weeks and there seems to be no reason for it, then a doctor must be consulted to rule out the possibility of cancer of the bone.
Blood in the urine or stool is a warning sign which people often tend to ignore but it can be due to cancer of bladder, kidney or bowel. Similarly, vaginal bleeding between the periods should be taken seriously, and so should be bleeding while coughing or vomiting.
All these warning signs should be heeded seriously so that the problem can be caught early and treated well.