Cancer is an illness that causes abnormal growth of cells. In turn, these cells get into or spread around different body parts. If timely diagnosed, there's a good chance of successful recovery and a healthy life afterwards.
There are 200 types of cancer known today. In this article, we'll talk about the most common ones. These include:
- cervical cancer;
- pancreatic cancer;
- colon and rectal cancer;
- prostate cancer;
- bladder cancer;
- kidney cancer;
- ovarian cancer;
- breast cancer;
- lung cancer.
Medical doctors recommend noting the 16 most common signals that signify cancer development. While they aren't always definite signs of this particular illness, they still mean you need to consult a doctor!
1. Sudden weight loss you can't explain
If you haven't made any changes in your diet or lifestyle recently, but the number on your scales is dynamically dropping, it might point to breast, lung or colon cancer.
Cancer that has reached the liver prevents it from neutralizing toxins. Decreased appetite leads to weight loss.
By statistics, 40% of cancer patients report sudden weight loss even at the stage of diagnosis. 80% of cancer types cause a decrease in body mass.
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2. Lumps and tumors
If you notice a lump in the abdomen, breast, groin, neck, testicle or armpit areas, consult a doctor immediately. Especially if it has been there for more than 3 weeks.
Lumps in your armpits and enlarged glands usually indicate breast cancer. This type of cancer is usually followed by redness, inflammation, and swelling of breasts.
However, enlarged glands are more often caused by an infection. Don't link it to cancer too soon. But a doctor consultation is advisable.
3. Rapid fatigue and weakness
If you have such symptoms and proper sleep and nutrition don't help, it might be cancer. But then again, such symptoms are typical for other illnesses too.
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4. Frequent infections and fever
Fever is a sign of infection that the body is trying to fight. Constant fever and weakness might be caused by a lymphoma. Leukemia also causes similar flu-like effects, followed by fatigue, frequent infections, and fever. That said, HIV also presents with these symptoms.
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5. Nail abnormalities
Here are the signs of liver, lung or skin cancer:
- Quite rarely (but still possible), black or brown spots underneath the nail plate point to skin cancer.
- Nail clubbing (curved fingernails) is a symptom of lung cancer. The problem is caused by the oxygen deprivation – a symptom of chronic hypoxia may be caused either by cancer or a different illness.
- White or pale nails is a signal of many diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, cardiac insufficiency, and iron deficiency anemia. Cancer can also be put on this list.
6. Apnoea and stridulous breathing
They might be caused by lung cancer. It squeezes and narrows respiratory passages. It should be noted that this symptom most times is related to asthma or bronchitis.
7. A chronic cough, hoarse voice, and/or chest pain
These signals may point to leukemia or lung cancer. Pain in the chest which spreads down an arm or onto a shoulder – also a symptom of these types of cancer.
If you've had a hoarse voice for more than 6 weeks, go to a doctor immediately. The described issues with the voice might be a sign of oesophageal, laryngeal, thyroid, or lung cancer.
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Flatulence for no reason may often signal ovarian cancer. To the symptoms, we can also add pain in the pelvis area or sense of fullness from a small amount of food. You should consult a doctor.
Gastric cancer presents in the form of flatulence or pain after eating.
9. Chronic heartburn
In most cases, the core of the problem is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nonetheless, excessive heartburn might indicate gastric cancer.
There's a study that explains that chronic heartburn increases the risk of developing cancer due to tissue inflammation.
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10. Intestinal issues
If you had never had problems with defecation, but suddenly notice changes which remain for over 4 weeks, you should consult a doctor right away. It might be a sign of colon cancer.
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If you have this disease, your skin and the whites of your eyes go yellow. It's easy to notice. These symptoms are related to liver or pancreas issues. However, it might also be pancreatic cancer, which prevents the pancreas and liver from functioning properly, in turn the reason for jaundice.
Note that if it is pancreatic cancer, the symptoms will also include significant weight loss and pain (in the back and the upper part of the abdominal area).
12. Difficulty swallowing
Gastric or throat cancer might cause swallowing problems. A person might feel as if the food is stuck in their throat. Other symptoms are burning sensation and pain.
In most cases, these types of cancer are diagnosed too late. Pay attention to the symptoms described. If you can relate to this, take care of yourself and go to a doctor.
13. Skin mark changes
Most changes in skin are normal. But here are the cases when you need to see a doctor:
- development of ulcers which don't heal;
- A change in colour, size, shape, and symmetry of an existing mole.
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14. Pain in abdominal or pelvic area
Also, heaviness in pelvic area or changes in stool might be signs of ovarian cancer. Here's a list of women who are most prone to this type of disease:
- women who are already battling colon, rectal, cervical, or breast cancer.
- women with a medical history of breast, ovarian, colon, and rectal cancer in the family.
- women who have never been pregnant.
Pain in the pelvic area can also point to leukemia or cervical cancer.
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15. Bleeding and bruising
Blood in urine may be a sign of infection as well as kidney or bladder cancer. Blood in stool is a symptom of hemorrhoids as well as colon cancer. Colon and rectal cancer presents with blood from the rectum.
Women who have bleeding in between periods or after intercourse should get tested for cervical and uterine lining cancer.
Leukosis is characterized by constant bruises and bleeding. Lung, oesophageal, and gastric cancer cause vomiting or coughing up of blood.
However, remember that bleeding might be caused by other diseases.
16. Pain that lasts over 4 weeks
You should see a doctor. You might not necessarily have cancer, but you definitely need an appointment. So, if it's testicular cancer you will have pain in testicles, and if it's bone cancer your bones will ache. Pain in bones can also be caused by leukemia.
Take care of yourself. Visit a doctor and get your tests done regularly. Listen to your body and it might save your life!
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.