Spotting cancer early on is crucial as it may help increase your chances of overcoming the disease. That’s why it’s best to be aware of some of the most common signs of cancer.
Here are some of the general symptoms of cancer that you should watch out for. However, it’s important to note that these signs may also be a manifestation of a less serious condition. If there’s something unusual about your body, you should see a doctor immediately to detect and address it as soon as possible—may it be cancer or not.
- Unexplained Weight Loss
If you lose weight and you don’t know what caused it, you need to consult a doctor. Shedding 10 pounds or more for no apparent reason could be the first signs of cancer, typically in the lungs, pancreas, stomach, and esophagus.
It’s normal to feel out of breath after sprinting or climbing a flight of stairs, but breathlessness becomes suspicious if you’re having a hard time breathing more often than usual.
Fatigue is defined as extreme tiredness that you don’t seem to recover from after resting. It may happen during the early stages of leukemia, colon cancer, and stomach cancer.
Aches and pains is our body’s way of communicating to us, and they typically come and go on their own or after treatment. However, if they get severe or persistent and go on for more than a month, it’s best to consult your doctor. A headache that won’t go away can be a sign of brain tumor. Meanwhile, back pain can be a sign of colon, rectum or ovarian cancer.
- Changes in the Skin
Changes in the skin such as hyperpigmentation, jaundice or yellowish skin, redness, itching, and excessive hair growth may be signs of cancer.
- Changes in Bowel Habits
Changes with the way you move bowels such as long-term constipation, diarrhea, or change in the size of your stool may signify cancer, typically of the colon.
- Changes in Bladder Function
Fever is typically a sign of a common infection, but it could also be a sign of cancer. In some cases, it could be an early sign of leukemia or lymphoma.
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding occurs during menstruation and in some cases, it can be a side effect of taking contraceptives. However, any form of bleeding in between your cycles should be checked out as it may be a sign of an infection or cancer.
- Heartburn or Indigestion
Heartburn or indigestion typically happens after a hefty or spicy meal. However, if you experience these symptoms often or if they’re extremely painful, you need to go to the doctor and have a check-up.
- Night Sweats
Night sweats can be a side effect of medication or menopause. But if it becomes excessive, it could be a sign of cancer such as lymphoma.
- Changes with Warts and Moles
Changes in the color, size, shape, or border of moles could be signs of melanoma.
- Sores that Don’t Heal
Sores can appear in different parts of the body such as the skin, mouth, and the genitals. If you notice sores on any part of the body and they don’t seem to go away, a visit to the doctor is in order
- White Patches in the Mouth
The presence of white patches in the mouth could be leukoplakia, which is a pre-cancerous area. If left untreated, it can become mouth cancer.
If you feel lumps in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes, and other soft tissues, you need to have it checked out right away. More so, take note of any changes in size and report it to your doctor.
- Persistent Cough or Hoarseness
A cough that doesn’t seem to go could be a sign of lung cancer or cancers of the larynx or thyroid gland.
- Difficulty with Swallowing
Difficulty with swallowing could be a sign of cancers of the esophagus, stomach or throat.
Part of detecting cancer is being aware of any changes in your body and watching out for possible symptoms of the disease. The 17 signs discussed are common signs of cancer, but as mentioned, they could also be signs of another condition. Regardless, if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to seek the advice of a doctor right away, get diagnosed, and receive treatment.