Could It Be Cancer? 18 Easily Overlooked Signs And Symptoms Of The Common Types Of The Disease
December 4, 2018 17:26 By Fabiosa
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, second only to cardiovascular disease, according to the World Health Organization. One of the reasons why cancer is so deadly is that it’s often discovered at a late stage when it can’t be cured.
In some cases, cancer doesn’t produce any clear early signs and symptoms. However, early symptoms are often present, but they are subtle, and people choose to ignore them.
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A few general symptoms of cancer
Most signs and symptoms that may be caused by cancer are not exclusive to the disease; they can be caused by plenty of other, benign conditions. However, any persistent symptom you can’t explain should be a cause for concern. The American Cancer Society wants you to know that cancer may manifest itself with the following:
Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss that is not related to changes in diet or increased physical activity could be a sign of serious trouble. Many types of cancer can cause you to lose weight; these include cancers of the digestive system and lung cancer.
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Fever is common in many types of cancer, but it usually isn’t an early symptom – it generally starts after the disease has started to spread. However, in some cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, this symptom may appear early on.
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Fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer that appear after the disease has started to spread. In some cancers, including leukemia, it may be present early. A bleeding somewhere in your GI tract caused by cancer leads to gradual blood loss, which may also make you feel tired.
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Pain usually appears when the tumor grows large and starts to press on nearby organs, blood vessels, and nerves. In some cancers, including bone cancer and testicular cancer, pain is often felt early on. Back pain may indicate cancer of the ovaries, colon, or rectum.
Cancer may cause skin changes even if it’s not skin cancer. These changes include the following:
- skin darkening (hyperpigmentation);
- greyish skin;
- yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice);
- reddened skin;
- abnormal increase in hair growth.
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Some other symptoms of cancer
Cancer can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms. They depend on the stage, type, and location and include the following, according to EMedicineHealth:
- A persistent cough, sometimes with blood-tinged sputum (common in lung cancer).
- Changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation, pencil-thin stools, and a feeling of incomplete bowel emptying.
- Blood in stool.
- Unexplained anemia (may be caused by gradual blood loss due to internal bleeding or insufficient production of red blood cells in the bone marrow).
- Lumps in testicles.
- Changes in urination, such as slow urine flow, passing too little urine at a time, urinating too often, blood in urine, and a sensation of incomplete bladder emptying.
- Hoarseness (common in throat cancer).
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Changes in a wart or mole (could be a sign of skin cancer).
- Headaches (very rarely, a symptom of brain cancer).
- Indigestion or difficulty swallowing (could be a symptom of esophageal cancer).
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Signs and symptoms of cancer only women can have
Needless to say, some signs and symptoms of cancer can be seen only in women. These include:
1. Abnormal bleeding. Abnormal bleeding is any bleeding that isn’t menstrual. If you’re postmenopausal and have a bleeding, or if you experience bleeding or spotting between periods, be sure tell your doctor about it. Periods that are longer and/or heavier than usual should also be a cause for concern.
2. Breast changes. The best-known symptom of breast cancer is a lump, but not all lumps are cancerous and not all types of the breast cancer cause a lump to form. Other breast symptoms to watch out for include the following:
- nipple discharge that isn’t milk;
- nipple changes, such as inversion;
- skin changes on the breast;
- breast pain;
- changes in size and shape (usually affecting one breast).
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Remember this: All of the signs and symptoms listed in this article may be caused by cancer, but, more often than not, they are caused by benign conditions. In any case, the only people who can tell you which is it are medical professionals. If you have any unexplained, troubling symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your life depends on it!
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.