Seven Early Symptoms of Cancer You Should Not Ignore
The dreaded ‘C’ word, cancer, has become more prevalent than we had probably ever foreseen. A study published recently revealed that one in two people born after 1960 is likely to develop cancer in their life. The probability and risk of cancer has grown to the extent that experts fear that two-thirds of children will be diagnosed with the deadly disease. Under such a situation, the only ray of hope lies in the early diagnosis of the symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are often disguised and mistaken as simple body aches or just the general flu.
Take a look at the below-mentioned early symptoms of cancer to understand why you need to address them without delay.
1. Stubborn and Persistent Heartburn
Acidity is common in day-to-day life. But, if the heartburn and acidity continue days and weeks after you have had a hot and spicy meal, it could be a symptom of stomach and oesophageal cancer. Try taking antacid medication. If the heartburn persists despite the medicines, you should get tested. This phenomenon can also be linked to ovarian or pancreatic cancer.
2. Mouth and Tongue Ulcers
Yes, it’s true that ulcers are really common. They result from fever and viral infections, and sometimes even due to improper oral care. Ulcers are usually painful. However, if a mouth ulcer continues for 3 - 4 weeks, it could be an indication of mouth cancer. If these ulcers persist and velvety red, white, or speckled patches develop on the tongue simultaneously, consider getting examined for oral cancer.
In normal circumstances, the skin repairs very quickly and the ulcer should heal in a week or so. Sometimes, these symptoms are also accompanied with ear pain and pain in the mouth. Consult your dentist or healthcare provider and find out more.
3. Upper Abdomen and Back Pain
Often, we feel a piercing pain that starts from the upper abdomen and then spreads out across the middle of the back. Most of us neglect such pains and assume them to be mere muscular aches.
The biggest difference between a muscular pain and a cancerous pain is that while the former will mainly occur in the lower back, pain related to cancer will be much more severe. It will concentrate and spread across your middle back. Along with the pain, there will be symptoms of tiredness, weight loss, and loss of appetite. All of these are considered pertinent symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
4. Hot Flushes and Excessive Sweating
Hot flushes and sweating can have several causes. Excess body weight, menopause, body temperature, hormones, and the likes are often behind this. However, heavy night sweats can also be a symptom of lymphoma, a tumor developing in the lymph cells. This kind of sweating is not normal. It can be to the extent that you may need to change your pajamas or bedding in a matter of a few hours.
Dr. Shankara Paneesha, consultant hematologist at a hospital in Birmingham explains how this is related to cancer. “People with lymphoma have high metabolisms, as lymphoma cells use a lot of energy.” This leads to a lot of sweating, especially drenching night sweats. Consult your general practitioner when this happens, and also watch out for symptoms like lumps in the armpit, groin, or the side of the neck.
5. Postmenopausal Bleeding
Any kind of vaginal bleeding post-menopause should be taken seriously. It could be a sign of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer is the cancer of the lining of the uterus, which occurs mostly in women aged 55 and above.
This cancer is also closely associated with being overweight or obese. Early onset of menstrual periods, infertility, and late menopause also increase the risk of endometrial cancer. However, when this is detected in the early stages, it is highly treatable.
6. Abnormalities in Your Stool
While seeing blood in your stool is most often seen as an early symptom of cancer, the reality is any abnormality or change in your stool color, texture, or frequency is a cause for concern.
Sudden constipation, loose motions, or slight ache when passing stool should be checked and looked into, especially if these conditions persists for more than a week. The conditions could be symptoms of bowel cancer, or in rare cases, be related to ovarian or pancreatic cancer as well. Blood in the urine can also be a symptom of bladder, kidney or prostate cancer.
7. Coughing Blood
We are all susceptible to cough and cold, and most of us make the mistake of taking this lightly. An ongoing, persisting cough could be an indicator of lung cancer. It may seem innocuous, but failure to diagnose cancer can lead to something painful and sinister.
Coughing blood is a red flag for cancer and, in this case, you can take the emergency route instead of waiting for a referral from your physician.
Cancer symptoms can be terrifying for anyone to accept. But, don’t let that fear stop you from getting the right diagnosis. Maybe your symptoms won’t be related to cancer at all, but just in case they are, the quicker you diagnose it, the better it is. On the other hand, failure to diagnose can mean delay in treatment and restriction of chances to recover. So, if you notice any of the above symptom, get it checked right away by seeking help as early as possible.
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