Cancer is a group of diseases that manifest themselves in a variety of ways. As cancer grows, it will begin to put pressure on certain nerves, blood vessels, and organs. As a result of this constant pressure, signs and symptoms will begin to present themselves. How the signs and symptoms present themselves will depend on many factors, such as how big the cancerous tissue is, where it is located, and how much the organs and tissues are affected.
For example, if the cancer is located in the brain, even the smallest of tumors can cause severe symptoms. On the other hand, if cancer starts in the pancreas, symptoms won’t present themselves until after the cancer has grown very large and spread to other parts of the body, at which point cancer is said to have metastasized. At this point, cancer is significantly harder to achieve remission.
Being able to recognize even the most subtle cancer symptoms and signs can potentially save your life or that of a loved one. If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer, since a number of other things have the potential to be causing the same symptoms. However, no matter what their cause may be, these symptoms should definitely be taken seriously. Consult a physician if you notice:
Lumps or Bumps
It’s always best to have any strange lumps checked out by a doctor. Women are advised to conduct monthly breast self-examinations in order to prevent breast cancer. Although most breast lumps are noncancerous, all breast lumps need to be thoroughly investigated in order to be sure.
For men, testicular cancer is a threat. Because 90% of men with testicular cancer report having a lump on the testicle, it is also recommended for men to perform monthly testicular self-examinations and to report anything unusual to their doctors.
Unexplained Weight Loss
According to the American Cancer Society, losing weight of 10 pounds or more for no known reason could be one of the first signs of having cancer. This symptom is most common if you have stomach, lung, pancreatic, or esophageal cancer.
Any phase of cancer can cause unusual bleeding, which should always be examined by a doctor. Bleeding can indicate a number of cancerous conditions:
- Blood in the stool might be a sign of rectal or colon cancer.
- Coughing up blood could be indicative of lung cancer.
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding can be a signal of endometrial or cervical cancer in women.
- Blood in your urine might be caused by kidney or bladder cancer.
- Bloody discharge from the nipple may be a sign of breast cancer.
- Unexplained Pain
Pain that won’t go away can be a symptom of many different things, including a variety of cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, if your pain is caused by cancer, this usually means the cancer is spreading to other organs, so it is important to see your doctor to diagnose the cause of any strange pain.
Variation in Bladder Activity/Bowel Habits
While disruptions in bowel activity are usually caused by changes in diet or medications, if this happens consistently over a period of time, it can be a sign of colon cancer. Having blood in your urine, frequent urination, or experiencing pain while urinating can be signs of having a urinary tract infection or some cancers of the bladder, kidney, or prostate. Either way, diagnosis and treatment from your doctor are necessary.
Long-lasting sore throat, coughing, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing can be rather common, especially during cold and flu season. They can, however, be indicative of cancer.
If a mole, wart, or freckle suddenly changes in appearance, this is could be an early sign of skin cancer. Visible skin changes can be indicative of more than just skin cancer, though. Darker looking skin, yellowish skin or eyes, reddened skin, itching, and excessive hair growth can point to an underlying problem.
Extreme exhaustion that is not cured by getting more rest is what is defined as fatigue. This symptom can occur at different stages of different cancers. For example, fatigue can be an early sign of leukemia. Fatigue can also be caused by anemia, which is common in some colon and stomach cancers.
This is a very common symptom for most kinds of cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, almost all people with cancer will have a fever at some time, since it affects your immune system.