Cancer is one of the most dangerous and deadliest diseases that exists in our globe. There exists approximately 200 types of cancer and the most common ones target the following parts, lungs, breast, kidney, throat, prostate, ovaries, and heart besides leukemia and melanoma.
Early diagnosis of cancer is one of the most important steps that could increase the chances of curing cancer as opposed to late diagnosis which could diminish the effectiveness of the treatment process and make it longer. Early diagnosis of cancer can be done when you notice its symptoms on your body and you take action by getting a medical check. There is also what we call screening and it is when the government or NGOs implement a mass population screening for the people for free or at a low price by conducting medical checks.
What are the signs and symptoms of cancer?
It is vital to know the warning signs and symptoms of cancer so that we can handle them correctly when dealing with them as the result could be devastating when the symptoms are ignored. The symptoms vary depending on each type of cancer. Some common cancer symptoms are as follows:
1 Unexpected Weight Loss
Weight loss is one the early signs of many different types of cancer as 40% of all cancer patients report it during their test and 80% for patients who suffer from a severe degree of cancer. Cancer affects the liver that leads to its failure, which consequently limits its function related to the elimination of toxins, causing fatigue, and loss of appetite.
Weight loss is normal when it is just a result of your diet. Contrarily, when you lose up to 10% of your body weight or 10 pounds per month in a period of 6 months this means something is wrong and you need to see your doctor.
2 Chest Pain along with Chronic Cough
Coughing is usually not linked to a serious health problem like cancer but in the case when it is chronic, meaning it is persistent and lasts for weeks or even months, it is advised to see your doctor as soon as possible. The types of cancer that causes this kind of symptoms are usually lung cancer and leukemia. Along with the coughing, you could also feel a heavy pain in your chest that spreads all the way down to your hands or in your shoulders.
3 Chronic Heartburn
Heartburn can be a symptom of just a simple health concern like indigestion but in the case when it becomes constant and lasts for several week, it is advised to see your doctor ad it is a sign of esophagus cancer. The pain can be described as a burning feeling in the chest which is
caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux is generated when the valve at the entrance of our stomach stays open and lets the stomach’s acid move up to the esophagus.
4 Dysphagia: swallowing difficulties
People who suffer from Dysphagia will have difficulties swallowing foods or liquid as it feels like it is stuck in the throat, may cause coughing or even choke. These symptoms are linked to throat cancer and esophagus cancer. The symptom usually starts mildly and does not cause a lot of pain but if not treated early the pain gets more severe and the treatment process will get longer.
5 Nail changes
Fingernails are a window to our health. Noticing abnormal changes in the fingernails can be an alerting symptom of a health issue. This symptom could be one of the earliest signs of skin, lung or liver cancer. Some of the changes that you might notice are the following:
-You may develop curved fingernails which is usually related to lung cancer. -Black fingernails which can be a sign of skin cancer
-Liver cancer which can be signaled by white or yellow nails.
6 Abnormal bleeding
Noticing a change in your bowl and bladder habits is one of the symptoms of cancer. These changes are usually having blood in the urine and/or pain in the bladder area. They appear for people who have kidney, bladder, or ovarian cancer. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are having cancer as it could be just a simple infection but is always recommended to check with your doctor and take any kind of treatment if necessary as this could develop to a cancer if neglected. Abnormal bleeding could also appear in your vomit and is a symptom of stomach cancer.
7 Frequent fever or infection
We would never think of fever as being a symptom of cancer but when it lasts for a long period of time we recommend you checking with a specialist to detect the malfunction as it could be a sign of lymphoma. The body has approximately 500 to 700 lymph nodes. Lymphoma is a cancer that targets the lymph nodes that are a part of the body’s immune system.
8 Shortness of breathing or wheezing
Shortness of breathing or in other word dyspnea can be observed for people who have late- stage-cancers but also for those who have early stage cancers that affect the heart and the lungs. Having a blood clot could also generate this symptom but in any ways you should consider visiting your doctor when having dyspnea.
9 Tiredness and weakness
Tiredness and weakness can occur alongside all the symptoms that we have mentioned previously as it is a sign of multiple types of cancer. It happens as the cancer cells can interfere with the natural and normal production of the blood cells in the body which leads to fatigue.
Bloating occurs when the stomach is filled with air or gas which eventually makes your belly look larger and hard. This can be caused just when you eat certain types of food that makes you feel that way like in the example of beans. However, when the reasons of this symptom are unknown and when it lasts for several weeks this sign can be worrisome as it could indicate stomach cancer.
Bowel issues such as stomach ache, diarrhea, and constipation could be signs of gastric cancer when it lasts for 4 weeks or more. In that case, hospitalization is necessary.
Jaundice means the medical condition in which the color of the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow. Jaundice is a symptom of liver and bladder cancer. Also as all the other symptoms, at first it could be just a sign of a less severe health issue but it is always recommended not to let them develop to something more serious like cancer.
13.Unusual swelling or lumps
It is always alarming when you notice unusual swellings or lumps in different parts of your body as it could be a sign of a serious health issue beneath the skin. When these swellings or lumps stays in your body for 3 weeks or more, we recommend that you visit your doctor as it is a symptom of breast cancer.
14.New or Changing Moles or Skin Spots
Melanoma is a type of cancer that develops on the skin. Its early symptoms develop when unusual dark spots appear on the skin of your body and also when abnormal moles grow on it. These moles are usually very dark in color or red and are atypical in their shape.
15.Abdominal or Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can be caused by different factors like infections or inflammatory diseases in the pelvic or abdominal area but this symptom can also be a warning sign of ovarian cancer among women and it targets:
• Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer
• Women who have never been pregnant
• Women diagnosed with breast cancer, uterus or rectal cancer. The pain can also be felt during urination.
16.Unusual Persistent Pain : When you start feeling unusual pain in your body that is not related to any kind of physical activities or harsh physical contact and that keeps appearing for a period of time of 4 weeks, we recommend you to see your doctor. This kind of pain is felt in the muscles and body joints can be a symptom of bone cancer. The symptoms of cancer are substantial and should not be treated lightly. A simple change in the shape of your nail could mean a lung cancer and you should be very wary of them.
The aim of this article is not to scare you each time you feel an ache in your body and be over worried all the time but to share with you knowledge about the symptoms of cancer so that you can do a self diagnosis. There are some symptoms that immediately indicates a disease and requires a medical intervention like blood in the urine for instance.
It is of vital importance to visit your doctor when noticing these symptoms especially when they last for a long period of time for the reason that early diagnosis of cancer can accelerate the treatment process and make it more effective.