Cancer, the uncontrolled growth or multiplication of abnormal cells in the body, often manifests through various signs and symptoms. While many of these symptoms can be caused by illnesses other than cancer, it’s crucial not to ignore them, especially if they persist or worsen. Early detection of cancer can significantly improve prognosis and treatment options.
In fact, screenings can typically detect cancer before symptoms arise. Here are various symptoms related to different forms of cancer that you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Persistent Fatigue
Fatigue can be a common symptom of many conditions, not just cancer. However, if you constantly feel tired or fatigued despite adequate sleep and rest, it’s crucial not to overlook this symptom. Chronic fatigue can be associated with several types of cancer, including leukemia, colon cancer, or stomach cancer.
2. Unexplained Weight Loss
Losing weight without trying might sound appealing to some, but it’s not always a good sign. Unexplained weight loss—meaning weight loss that occurs without changes in diet or exercise habits—can be a symptom of several types of cancer, including lung, pancreas, stomach, and esophageal cancer.
3. Persistent Cough or Trouble Breathing
Coughs are typically associated with common illnesses like colds or allergies. However, a persistent cough that lasts more than a few weeks or a noticeable change in a chronic cough can be a sign of lung cancer. Difficulty breathing can also be a symptom of lung cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs.
4. Changes in Skin
The most obvious skin-related cancer symptom is a new mole or changes to an existing mole. However, skin changes can also signify other types of cancer. For instance, jaundice (a yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes) can be a sign of liver or gallbladder cancer. Persistent itching can be associated with blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma.
5. Frequent Fever or Infections
While a fever usually indicates that your body is fighting off an infection, persistent or recurrent fevers could be a sign of certain blood cancers like lymphoma or leukemia. Frequent infections can also be a symptom of these cancers, as they can impact the immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
6. Difficulty Swallowing
Difficulty or discomfort when swallowing can be a symptom of gastrointestinal cancer, such as esophageal or throat cancer.
7. Persistent Pain
Pain is your body’s way of signaling that something isn’t right. Persistent or unexplained pain can be associated with various types of cancer. For instance, a persistent headache could be a sign of brain cancer, while ongoing pain in the abdomen could indicate ovarian, colon, or pancreas cancer.
8. Changes in Bowel Habits
Long-term changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, can be a sign of colon cancer. Also, noticing blood in your stool could be a symptom of colon or rectal cancer.
9. Changes in Bladder Habits
Changes in urinary habits, including blood in the urine, frequent urination, or painful urination, can be symptoms of bladder or prostate cancer.
10. Unusual Bleeding
Unexplained bleeding can occur in the early or advanced stages of cancer. Coughing up blood may signal lung cancer. Blood in the stool could be an indication of colon or rectal cancer. In particular, women who experience unexplained vaginal bleeding should report it to their doctors, as it could indicate cervical or endometrial cancer.
Remember, these symptoms can often be due to conditions other than cancer. However, if you notice persistent changes in your body or overall health, it’s crucial to consult with a doctor. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and guide you to the appropriate treatment, whether that’s for cancer or another condition.
I will end this article by saying early detection and diagnosis of cancer can make a significant difference in successful treatment and prognosis, so don’t hesitate to seek medical advice when needed.