Spot the signs, win the battle
It may be known as the “silent killer”, but cancer often comes with symptoms and warning signs. Spot the signs and symptoms of cancer early, and you could beat the disease.
1) A sore that will not heal
Look out for any sores on the skin, vagina, any oral cavity, or other part of the body that do not seem to get better.
2) Unusual bleeding or discharge
Check for any unusual bleeding, as it could indicate the presence of cancer: Blood in the phlegm (lung cancer); blood in the stool (colorectal cancer); abnormal vaginal bleeding (uterine, ovarian or cervical cancer); bloody discharge from the nipple (breast cancer).
3) A thickening lump in the breast or elsewhere
Monitor any lump on your breast, testicles, lymph nodes, or soft tissues. If it grows in size or thickens, it may indicate the presence of a tumour under the skin.
4) Change in bowel habits or bladder function
Let your doctor know if you have chronic constipation or diarrhoea, feel pain when you urinate, urinate more or less frequently, or spot blood in your urine. Take note also if there is a significant change in the size of your stool. These are possible signs of colon, bladder or prostate cancers.
5) Persistent cough or hoarseness
Do not shrug off a cough that does not heal or hoarseness in your throat if it does not get better. It could point to cancer in the lung, larynx or thyroid.
6) Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
If you find difficulty swallowing your food or struggle with indigestion, tell your doctor. Some of these are symptoms of oesophagus, stomach, or throat cancer.
7) Changes in a wart or mole
A sudden change in the colour, shape or size of a wart or mole on your skin may indicate the presence of skin cancer.
8) Unexplained weight loss
If you are not on a diet but see your weight dropping by 5 kg or more, take note. Pancreatic, stomach, oesophagus, and lung cancers often lead to weight losses.
9) Back pain
Muscle pulls and aches may not be the only reason for tenderness and discomfort in your back: Some cancers, like prostate, can spread to the bones in the lower part of the body, causing pain in the hip bones and lower back.
10) Fever and fatigue
While it is a common symptom of many other diseases, fever is also a common sign of cancer when it has reached an advanced stage. This is because the disease affects the body’s immunity, making it less resistant to infection. Look out also for extreme fatigue.
While the symptoms above are more likely to be caused by something far less serious than cancer, they could be a sign of the disease. Let your doctor know if you spot these symptoms, so that further checks can be done. Early detection, simplifies cure.
Written by Kok Bee Eng
Source: Parkway Cancer Centre
Tags: cancer lump