16 Potential Warning Signs of Cancer that People Too Often Ignore
Human organism is combination of many different types of cells which together create tissues and organs and function perfectly. If some function is impaired of if there is undiagnosed cancer, your body will start sending warning signs.
In order to prevent further complications, medical experts advise you to pay special attention to these warning signs and visit doctor if you notice some unusual sing or symptom. When it comes to treatment of cancer, early detection substantially increases your chances of successful treatment.
It is important to highlight that the signs and symptoms explained below doesn’t necessarily mean that you have some type of cancer, but you should never neglect them.
There are more than 200 cancer types and the most common types are lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, kidney (renal), endometrial, bladder, colorectal and pancreatic cancer, as well as leukemia and melanoma. Unfortunately, for most of these types of cancer, survival rate is very low, particularly for lung cancer. The reason for that is because these types of cancer are detected when already are in advanced stage and that impedes the treatment process.
- UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS
Unexplained and fast weight loss is initial cancer sign, particularly for solid tumor cancers such as lung and breast cancer. Namely, once the cancer reaches the liver and impedes its functioning or more precisely prevents toxin removal and regulation of appetite, it causes weight loss. However, weight loss also may be warning sign for digestive types of cancer, including colon cancer.
Statistical data shows that even 40% of all cancer patients reported this warning sign at the time of diagnosis. Up to 80% of patients who had advanced cancer have experienced cachexia (general ‘wasting’) and unexplained weight loss.
If you exercise regularly and if you eat healthy food, losing weight is normal. But, if you lose up to 10% of your weight, or up to 10 pounds in period of month in a 6-month span, there are high chances that you have cancer.
- FATIGUE AND WEAKNESS
General fatigue and weakness that don’t disappear even after you get good and quality sleep may be warning symptom of many types of cancer. You need to consult medical expert as soon as possible.
- FREQUENT FEVERS OR INFECTIONS
Generally speaking, fever is indication that your organism fights an infection. But, if the fever is prolonged or persistent, it might be warning sign of a cancerous condition, such as lymphoma. Leukemia (cancer of blood cells) may cause fever, frequent infections, fatigue, aches and other flu-related signs.
- SHORTNESS OF BREATH OR WHEEZING
Shortness of breath and wheezing may be warning symptoms of various conditions, including lung cancer. Namely, if a lung tumor is pressing against and narrowing an airway, the patient may experience wheezing.
- CHRONIC COUGH AND CHEST PAIN
At some patients, the warning symptoms of lung cancer and leukemia mimic a bronchitis or bad cough. Medical expert explain that this problem might appear occasionally or be persistent. In addition to that, these symptoms may be followed by chest pain extending down the arm, or into the shoulder. If you experience these symptoms you should make an appointment with a doctor – immediately.
If you cough and your voice is hoarse longer than 6 weeks, you should consult a doctor and get proper diagnosis. At many patients, hoarse voice is indication of thyroid, lung, esophageal or laryngeal cancer.
If you have issues with frequent bloating for not apparent reason and if the bloating is persistent for longer period of time, you should visit medical expert. This sign may be indication of ovarian cancer, particularly if it is accompanied by swelling in the abdomen, pelvic pain as well as feeling of fullness. Moreover, if you have bloating or you experience pain in the stomach after a meal, it might be indication of a stomach cancer.
- CHRONIC HEARTBURN
At most patients, heartburn is a sign of acid reflux. But, you should be aware of the fact that persistent heartburn might be warning sign of esophageal cancer or Barrett’s esophagus.
According to a study published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in May 2012, chronic heartburn may cause inflammation of the tissue lining in the esophagus and that substantially increases the risk of esophageal cancer. In addition to that, the American Journal of Cell Physiology in 2013 published a research conducted by scientists at Rhode Island Hospital, in which it is explained that there is link between Barrett’s esophagus and the esophageal cancer development.
- BOWEL ISSUES
If you notice unexplained changes in the bowel habits that last longer than a month, you should visit medical expert – immediately. This often is indication of bowel cancer, particularly in older people.
- DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING
Throat or esophageal cancer may be manifested by problems with swallowing, or feeling chunks of food stuck in the chest or throat and these symptoms worsen over time. Burning sensation and pain while you are swallowing food are other warning symptoms of throat or esophageal cancer.
Doctors highlight that at most patients, esophageal cancer doesn’t showed any initial symptoms, and that is the reason why you should not ignore these if they do appear.
Difficulties with swallowing may also be initial warning sign of lung cancer.
Jaundice is medical condition that is characterized by yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. At most patients, jaundice is a sign of gallbladder or liver disease, but doctors explain that it also may be warning sign of pancreatic cancer which disrupts the functioning of liver and bile duct.
- UNUSUAL SWELLING OR LUMPS
If you notice any unusual lump on your groin, testicle, breast, underarm, abdomen, neck or any other part of your body that lasts more than 3 weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor – immediately. Doctors explain that a lump or enlarged lymph node under the arm might be warning sign of breast cancer, while swollen, red and sore breasts might be indication of inflammatory breast cancer.
- NEW OR CHANGING MOLES OR SKIN SPOTS
Despite the fact that most skin changes are not dangerous and are painless, medical experts advise screening for cancer if you notice:
- new spots, growths or sores on the skin that don’t heal
- changes in color, diameter, symmetry or border of your existing mole
- NAIL CHANGES
There are many reasons that cause strange changes in the fingernails. For instance, nail changes may be warning signs of skin, lung or liver cancer.
Medical experts explain that brown or black spots under fingernails might indicate skin cancer; enlarged ends of the nails (clubbing of the toes or fingers) may be initial warning sign of lung cancer. The reason for that may be conditions which lower the amount of oxygen in the blood. White or pale nails may be symptom of poor functioning of the liver caused by many diseases, including liver cancer
- ABDOMINAL OR PELVIC PAIN
Ovarian cancer might be manifested by lower abdominal or pelvic pain followed by pelvic heaviness and changes in the bowel habits.
Doctors explain that some groups of women have substantially higher chances of developing this type of cancer:
- women with a family history of ovarian, colorectal or breast cancer
- women diagnosed with colon, breast, uterine or rectal cancer
- women who have never been pregnant
Additionally, pain in the pelvic area might be warning sign of leukemia or uterine cancer.
- UNUSUAL PAIN LASTING LONGER THAN 4 WEEKS
There are many different causes of pain and aches. If you experience pain for no apparent reason, if the pain comes and goes or stays longer than a month, you should visit a doctor. Unusual pain may be sing of testicular or bone cancer.
- ABNORMAL BLEEDING
Blood in the urine is a sign of a urinary tract infection, but it also may be warning sign of kidney or bladder cancer. In addition to that, blood in stools is a typical sign of hemorrhoids but also might be indication of bowel cancer.
Bleeding after menopause or between periods may be warning signs of uterine or endometrial cancer.
Despite the fact it occurs rarely, vaginal bleeding might be indication of vaginal cancer. One of the most common warning signs of colorectal cancer is bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.
Leukemia often is manifested with excessive and persistent bruising and bleeding.
Coughing or vomiting blood may be indication of lung and esophageal, or stomach cancer respectively.
Doctors explain that in most cases, abnormal bleeding is not cancer, but it might be indication of other severe medical conditions and diseases that require medical examination and proper medical treatment.