8 Early Symptoms Of Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore
In this article, we’ll discuss some early symptoms of Cancer that you should keep be aware of.
‘’You are diagnosed with cancer.”
These words are enough to send chills down anyone’s spine and make their heart sink. Cancer is a fatal illness, to which victims and their families often succumb, not only physiologically but also psychologically and emotionally.
When the cells in the body divide abnormally or uncontrollably, they lead to the formation of diseased cells which are the main cause of cancer. Cancer cells destroy healthy organ tissues and hence damage the organ in which these cells form. To mankind’s dismay, there is no such organ in the human body that cannot be affected by cancer.
However, some cancers are rare while some are common. The cancer type varies with the organ in question, though it is generally characterized by a malignant tumor, except for blood cancer. Additionally, some kinds of cancer are exclusive to each sex, like breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Cancer can affect anyone, as it is still not known why some people fall prey to this malady while some do not. However, studies suggest that chain-smokers and alcoholics are at an increased risk. Other risk factors include obesity, exposure to radiation, old age, and even genetics.
Symptoms Indicative Of Cancer
Just like any other disease, cancer can also be treated, even completely cured, if diagnosed at the right stage. ‘Right stage’ here implies ‘earliest possible stage’.
We have curated a list of some early symptoms which may indicate the onset of cancer. These symptoms are generic, hence you should visit the doctor for a diagnosis and to identify the cause, even if everything seems fine.
1. Bowel Malfunctions
It is normal to experience changes in bowel movement, be it usual diarrhea or constipation. Diarrhea may be caused by contaminated food or water. Constipation, meanwhile, may be indicative of a lethargic lifestyle and poor food choices consisting of heavy foods that require ample time to digest. While both constipation and diarrhea may be linked to incomplete digestion and even loss of vital salts, a recurring condition may be indicative of cancer.
Consider paying a visit to your doctor if you experience frequent constipation and diarrhea. If it is cancer, you and your loved ones could be saved from a lot of physical and emotional pain in the future, thanks to an early diagnosis.
2. Changes In Urination Patterns
After a certain age men need to be extremely cautious about their prostate health as they are at an increased risk of prostate diseases. However, some symptoms of prostate illnesses are common to cancer, too. If you are experiencing incontinence i.e. losing control over your bladder, it may be a sign of prostate cancer.
Similarly, delayed urination and not being able to pass urine despite having strong urges may also be a cancer symptom. The best way to be sure would, without a doubt, be consulting your doctor. It is therefore advised for men over the age of 50 to have a prostate check-up at regular intervals.
3. Lumps Or Thickening of the Skin
One of the most common and recognizable cancer symptoms happen to be lumps. While some cancers result in lumps, others cause the skin to harden. If you notice a lump on your skin, you might want to visit your doctor, especially if you see that it has grown in size. The most common places for cancerous lumps to show up or for the skin to harden up are the testicles, breasts, and the throat. These symptoms can also be experienced at the lymph nodes.
4. Blood In The stools
Blood coming out of your body in any form is bad news, be it urine, pus, mucus, saliva, semen, or stool. Just like other symptoms, bloody stools are also not exclusive to cancer. Plenty of factors can cause bleeding in the colon or other parts of the alimentary canal, thus blood showing up in stools.
Your stools could contain blood because of a lack of fluid in the body during hot summers, or it could be something like hemorrhoids or colon disease. However, colon cancer could also be an underlying condition and the possibility should not be ignored. Not only colon cancer, but blood in the stools could also indicate any form of cancer relating to the digestive system.
5. Blood In Urine
As is the case with bloody stools, blood in urine can also be indicative of cancer. Having something as common as a urinary infection could result in bleeding which reflects in the urine. Another common reason for blood in the urine could be kidney stones. Although in some cases, it could be an early warning sign for cancers of the bladder or the kidney. Nonetheless, if you experience such a symptom it is always a good idea to get a diagnosis done.
6. Recurring Flu
Cold and flu have become so common and mundane that we do not take them seriously anymore until it morphs into something deadly like pneumonia or TB. Most of the respiratory cancers like that of the lungs originate with a cold or flu which ‘doesn’t seem to go away’ even after consecutively getting flu shots. If you notice your cold or flu persisting for a prolonged period, you must consider visiting the doctor and getting yourself checked.
7. Sores And White Patches In The Mouth
These are also common and recognizable symptoms of cancer. But just like all the other symptoms that we’ve seen, these can occur due to a variety of reasons, which include eating extremely hot or spicy food, bacterial infections, or inflammation. Sores generally occur in the mouth and must be brought to the attention of your doctor if they do not heal within a couple of weeks. If such is the case with you, the sores may indicate mouth cancer.
Similarly, the unexplained occurrence of white patches in the mouth is also considered to be an early warning sign of mouth cancer.
8. Unexplained Anemia
If your blood count has gone down recently and you feel fatigued, it may because of anemia. But if there appears to be no valid explanation for this anemia, it could be due to blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Cancer is a fatal illness. However, a lot of cancer fatalities are due to a lack of diagnosis at the right time. Advancements of medical science today have equipped us with treatments for various cancers like radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and advanced treatments like CAR-T cell therapy. However, early diagnosis is still the key to access these modes of treatment in the fight against cancer.
Therefore, one should visit their doctor at regular intervals for a routine check-up and discuss with them any health issues they face. This helps in early diagnosis of any underlying medical condition, and not just cancer.
May 26, 2020 Sam Bell