Cancer, a disease that needs no introduction, manifests in myriad ways, some subtle and others overtly. Often, early detection is key to successful treatment, and recognizing symptoms can lead to timely intervention.
However, some of these symptoms are so commonplace that they can easily be overlooked or dismissed. This piece will explore 14 cancer symptoms doctors urge you not to ignore, stressing the importance of vigilance and proactive healthcare.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Weight loss is often associated with fitness, but losing weight without changing your diet or exercise habits could indicate cancer. This symptom is most common in lung, pancreas, stomach, and esophageal cancers.
While it’s normal to feel tired after a long day or a strenuous workout, continuous fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest could be a concern. This could be a symptom of leukemia or cancers of the stomach and colon.
Changes in the skin can often be a sign of skin cancer. However, other forms of cancer can also cause skin changes. These changes may include darker-looking skin, jaundiced or yellowish skin, reddened skin, itching, or excessive hair growth.
Changes in Bowel or Bladder Habits
Persistent constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the stool size may be a sign of colon cancer. Pain during urination, blood in the urine, or a change in bladder function can be symptoms of bladder or prostate cancer.
Throat discomfort or difficulty swallowing could indicate throat, stomach, or lung cancer.
An early sign of colon or rectal cancer is blood in the stool. Coughing up blood can hint at lung cancer. Abnormal vaginal bleeding can indicate cervical or endometrial cancer.
New or Evolving Moles
Although moles are usually harmless, a new mole or a change in an existing mole’s appearance could be a symptom of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
Persistent Cough or Sore Throat
A continuous cough or persistent sore throat could indicate lung, laryngeal, or thyroid cancer.
Pain that persists and has no known cause could suggest bone or testicular cancer. Back pain could be a colon, rectum, or ovary cancer symptom.
Indigestion or Trouble Eating
Persistent indigestion, swallowing problems, or discomfort after eating can indicate digestive tract cancers such as stomach, esophagus, or pharynx.
Changes in Lymph Nodes
Swollen or firm lymph nodes can often signal lymphoma or leukemia.
Unusual Lumps or Swelling
Any new lumps or swellings on the body should be checked, as these can indicate many types of cancer, from breast and testicular to lymphatic and skin cancer.
Persistent Fever or Night Sweats
Though these could be common infection symptoms, they can also be associated with leukemias or lymphomas.
White patches in the mouth or white spots on the tongue may be precursors to cancer. These oral or mouth cancer symptoms can also cause sores that don’t heal or bleed easily.
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