It is important to know your body and to tell your doctor if you notice a change, which isn’t normal for you. Therefore, it is crucial to spot the warning signs and symptoms that could indicate undiagnosed cancer.
There are more than 200 types of cancer. The most common types include lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, bladder, colorectal, kidney (renal), pancreatic, and endometrial cancers as well as melanoma and leukemia.
Anyone can develop cancer and it’s becoming a common disease. However, early detection can make the changes of treatment more successful.
Do not ignore the following 16 signs. They do not necessarily indicate cancer, but it is important to analyze them and see your doctor as soon as possible.
1. Unexplained Weight Loss
This is one of the most obvious and initial noticeable cancer signs and that particularly refers to solid tumor cancers such as lung and breast cancer. Namely, when the cancer spreads up to the liver and disrupts its functioning associated with removing toxins and regulating appetite, it causes major weight loss. Additionally, this may be warning sign of digestive types of cancer, such as colon cancer.
Statistics shows that even 40% of all cancer patients have reported this warning sign at the time of diagnosis. Moreover, more than 80% of advanced cancer cases are experiencing cachexia (general ‘wasting’) and unexplained loss of weight.
At this point it is important to highlight that losing weight while you are following some diet or you are exercising.
2. Fatigue and Weakness
If your fatigue and weakness don’t disappear even when you rest or get more sleep, consult your doctor ASAP since it might be a warning symptom of many cancers.
3. Frequent Fevers or Infections
In most cases, fever is a sign that your body fights an infection. However, if it’s a prolonged or persistent one, it might indicate a cancerous condition, like lymphoma. Also, the cancer of the blood cells, leukemia, can cause signs such as fever, frequent infections, aches, fatigue, and other flu-related signs.
4. Shortness of Breath or Wheezing
Many conditions can have wheezing and shortness of breath as symptoms. However, these symptoms may also be associated with lung cancer. Wheezing might be caused by a lung tumor pressing against and narrowing an airwayMany conditions can have wheezing and shortness of breath as symptoms. However, these symptoms may also be associated with lung cancer. Wheezing might be caused by a lung tumor pressing against and narrowing an airway
5. Chronic cough and Chest Pain
Smokers or people with cold or allergies experience coughing and chest pain. However, these symptoms, when persisted, may also indicate cancers like leukemia and lung tumors. Coughing accompanied with bloody mucus is also associated with lung cancer in men. If you don’t have any other related symptoms, such as a stuffy nose or fever, get yourself checked by a doctor.
Frequent bloating that comes out of nowhere may be a sign of ovarian cancer, especially if it is followed by abdominal swelling, pelvic pain, and feeling of fullness. Bloating and abdominal pain after a meal may indicate that you have a stomach cancer.
7. Chronic heartburn
Heartburn is often a sign of acid reflux. But, if it remains persistent, you may be dealing with esophageal cancer or Barrett’s esophagus. In a study published in 2012, in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, May edition, chronic heartburn may cause an inflammation of the lining in the esophagus, which increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.’’
According to another study, published in the American Journal of Cell Physiology, in 2013, scientists at Rhode Island Hospital found a connection between Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.
8. Bowel issues
Four-week or longer lasting unexplained changes in the bowel habits can indicate bowel cancer, especially in older people. In such cases, consult your doctor.
9. Difficulty Swallowing
Problems with swallowing, or feeling chunks of food stuck in your chest or throat that worsen with time, might indicate throat or esophageal cancer. Other warning signs of these types of cancer include burning sensation or pain when swallowing food. In most cases, esophageal cancer doesn’t show any initial symptoms, so don’t ignore these if they do appear. Problems with swallowing can also be one of the initial warning signs of lung cancer.
This medical condition is characterized by yellow color of the whites of the eyes and the yellowish skin. Generally speaking, jaundice is sign of gallbladder or liver diseases, but experts explain that it can be a sign of pancreatic cancer that disrupts the functioning of liver and bile duct.
11. Unusual Swelling or Lumps
You should visit doctor if you have some strange lump on the neck, groin, testicle, underarm, breast, abdomen or any other part of your body that is present longer than 3 weeks. Namely, a lump or enlarged lymph node under the arm may be indication of breast cancer, Swollen, red and sore breasts can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.
12. New or Changing Moles or Skin Spots
Any new growths or changes in symmetry or color on the skin should be checked thoroughly by a board-certified dermatologist because they could be skin cancer.
13. Nail Changes
If you notice any unusual changes on your nails, see your doctor. Most of the time changes in nails can occur for several reasons, but sometimes, these changes can indicate several types of cancers, such as skin, liver, or lung cancer.
14. Abdominal and pelvic pain
Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, followed by pelvic heaviness and changes in the bowel habits may be a sign of ovarian cancer. The following groups have more chances of developing this type of cancer:
– Women who have a family history of ovarian, colorectal or breast cancer
– Women who have never conceived
– Women who have colon, breast, uterine, and rectal cancer
The pain in the pelvic area may also be a sign of leukemia and uterine cancer.
15. Unusual pain that lasts for more than a month
Pain may be caused by numerous reasons. But, if your pain occurs for no reason, or remains for more than a month, have your doctor check it, because it may indicate testicular or bone cancer.
16. Abnormal bleeding
Abnormal bleeding can be a sign of certain cancer. Therefore:
– Blood in your urine, which is sometimes a symptom of a urinary tract infection, can be caused by bladder or kidney cancer.
– Blood in stools, a common sight among those who have hemorrhoids, can be a symptom of bowel cancer.
– Bleeding between periods or after menopause may indicate endometrial or uterine cancer.
– Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract may be a sign of colorectal cancer.
– Vomiting blood and coughing up blood may be signs of stomach or esophageal cancer and lung cancer, respectively.
You should keep an eye on the symptoms mentioned above and get regular health checkups.