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. Still, 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.
- UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS
An unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancer. This happens most often with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus (swallowing tube), or lung. Weight loss often occurs when a cancer spreads to the liver and impairs its functioning. So, in case you rapidly lose weight without changing your diet or how much you exercise, discuss this with your doctor.
- FREQUENT FEVERS OR INFECTIONS
If you are experiencing a persistent or prolonged fever, it can be a sign of a cancerous condition, such as lymphoma. Leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells, can also cause symptoms like frequent infections, fevers, fatigue, aches, and other flu-like symptoms.
- WEAKNESS AND FATIGUE
If no matter how much you sleep or rest, the fatigue does not disappear, you should pay your doctor a visit. Excessive fatigue is your body’s way of telling you that something just isn’t right. As cancer cells grow and reproduce, your body may start to feel run down. It can be a sign of a variety of cancers, so you and your doctor will need to consider other symptoms as well.
- WHEEZING OR SHORTNESS OF BREATHMany 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
- 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.
Unexplained abdominal bloating over a long period of time may be a sign of ovarian cancer. It can be accompanied by pelvic pain, swelling in the abdomen and feeling full. Moreover, pain or bloating in the stomach after eating can be a sign of stomach cancer.
- CHRONIC HEARTBURN
Heartburn is usually a symptom of acid reflux disease, but if it is persistent, it may be associated with Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer. Furthermore, in 2013, the American Journal of Cell Physiology has published the research conducted by scientists at Rhode Island Hospital, which explains the link between Barrett’s esophagus and the esophageal cancer development.
- BOWEL CHANGES
The occasional bowel problem is normal, but changes in your bowels may indicate either colon or rectal cancer. These are collectively called colorectal cancers. Colon cancer can develop in any part of the colon, while rectal cancer affects the rectum, which connects the colon to the anus. Moreover, frequent gas and abdominal pain may appear.
- DIFFICULTY SWALLOWINGDifficulty swallowing or the feeling that food is stuck in the throat or chest can be one of the first signs of lung cancer or throat cancer. Symptoms of these cancers also include pain or a burning sensation when swallowing food.
Jaundice is yellowing of the eyes and skin. Most people with pancreatic cancer (and virtually all people with ampullary cancer) will have jaundice as one of their first symptoms. Though it is mostly considered a symptom of liver or gallbladder disease, it can also be caused by pancreatic cancer interfering with the bile duct and liver.
- UNUSUAL SWELLING OR LUMPS IN THE BODY
A strange lump in your groin, testicle, breast, underarm, abdomen, neck, or any other part of your body that lasts for 3 weeks or more can indicate cancer. So, your body should be thoroughly checked by a doctor. At times, an enlarged lymph node or lump under the arm can be a sign of breast cancer.
- NEW OR CHANGING SKIN SPOTS OR MOLES
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.
- CHANGES IN NAILS
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.
- PELVIC OR ABDOMINAL PAIN
Lower abdominal pain and pelvic heaviness may be a symptom of ovarian cancer. Generally, women are more at risk of developing ovarian cancer if they:
- have never been pregnant,
- have a family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer, or
- have been diagnosed with breast, colon, rectum or uterine cancer.
- UNEXPLAINED PAIN LASTING MORE THAN FOUR WEEKSPersistent pain may be an early symptom of bone or testicular cancer. Moreover, back pain may be a symptom of cancer. Symptoms of cancer may not show until it has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones of the spine.
- 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.