18 Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

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signs and symptoms of cancer
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer: What Should I Know?

Cancer is the second most common cause of death after heart disease. Newly diagnosed cancers have a significant percentage to be cured. Cancer is more curable when detected early. Although some cancers develop completely asymptomatic, this disease can be very devastating if you ignore symptoms because you do not think that these symptoms might represent cancer.



Introduction to Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Cancer often does not have specific symptoms, so it is important for you to limit the risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. Most cancer screening is specific to certain age groups and your primary care doctor will know what screening to do depends on your age. People with cancer risk factors (for example, smokers, heavy alcohol use, high sun exposure, genetics) must be fully aware of the potential symptoms of cancer and be evaluated by doctors if available. The best way to fight cancer is by prevention (eliminating or reducing risk factors) and early detection.

Consequently, individuals need to know which symptoms lead to cancer. People should not ignore warning symptoms that might lead to early diagnosis and possibly cure.



What are the 18 Signs and Symptoms of Cancer?

Cancer in most people does not cause symptoms or signs that exclusively indicate disease. Unfortunately, every cancer complaint or symptom can be explained by a condition that seems harmless. However, if certain symptoms occur or persist, you must be examined for further evaluation. Some common symptoms that may occur in cancer are as follows:

1. Persistent cough or blood-colored saliva

a) These symptoms are usually simple infections such as bronchitis or sinusitis.

b) They can be symptoms of lung, head and neck cancer. Anyone who coughs up phlegm that lasts more than a month or with blood in coughing mucus should immediately see a doctor.



2. Changes in bowel habits

a) Most changes in bowel habits are related to your diet and fluid intake.

b) Sometimes, cancer shows ongoing diarrhea.

c) Some people with cancer feel as if they need to defecate and still feel that way after they defecate. If one of these abnormal bowel complaints lasts more than a few days, they need evaluation.

d) Significant changes in bowel habits that cannot be easily explained by changes in diet need to be evaluated.



3. Blood in feces

a) A doctor must always investigate the blood in your stool.

b) Hemorrhoids often cause rectal bleeding, but because hemorrhoids are very common, they may be present with cancer. Therefore, even when you suffer from hemorrhoids, you should ask your doctor to examine your intestinal tract when you have blood in your bowel movements.

c) In some people, X-ray studies may be sufficient to clarify the diagnosis.

d) Colonoscopy is usually recommended. Regular colonoscopy, even without symptoms, is recommended after you are 50 years old.

e) Sometimes when the source of bleeding is really clear (for example, a recurrent ulcer), this examination may not be needed.



4. Symptoms of Anemia that cannot be explained

a) Anemia is a condition in which people have fewer red blood cells than expected. Symptoms of anemia must always be investigated.

b) There are many types of anemia, but blood loss almost always causes iron deficiency anemia. Unless there is a clear source of blood loss, this anemia needs to be explained.

c) Many cancers can cause anemia, but colon cancer most often causes iron deficiency anemia. Evaluation should include endoscopic or x-ray examination of your upper and lower intestinal tract.



5. Lumps in the breast

a) Most breast lumps are non-cancerous tumors such as fibroadenomas and cysts. But all breast lumps need to be thoroughly investigated.

b) The results of a negative mammogram are usually not enough to evaluate breast lumps. Your doctor needs to determine appropriate x-ray studies that might include MRI or breast ultrasound.

c) Generally, the diagnosis requires needle aspiration or biopsy (small tissue sample).

d) Discharge from the breast is normal, but some forms of fluid may be signs of cancer. If there is blood or only one nipple, further evaluation is recommended.

e) Women are advised to do breast self-examinations every month.



6. Lumps in the testicles

a) Most men (90%) with testicular cancer have a painless or uncomfortable lump in the testis.

b) Some men have enlarged testes.

c) Other conditions, such as infection and swelling of blood vessels, can also cause changes in your testicles, but any lumps must be evaluated.

d) Men are advised to conduct monthly testicular self-examination.



7. Changes in urination

a) Urinary symptoms can include frequent urination, a little urine, and slow urine flow or changes in bladder function in general.

b) These symptoms can be caused by a urinary tract infection (usually in women) or, in men, by an enlarged prostate gland.

c) If cancer is suspected, prostate biopsy may be needed.

d) Cancer of the bladder and pelvic tumors can also cause irritation to the bladder and frequency of urination.

More Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

1. Blood in urine

a) Hematuria or blood in urine can be caused by urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or other causes.

b) For some people, it is a symptom of bladder or kidney cancer.

c) Every episode of blood in urine must be investigated.



2. Hoarseness

a) Hoarseness that is not caused by a respiratory infection or that lasts longer than three to four weeks must be evaluated.

b) Hoarseness can be caused by simple allergies or by vocal polyps, but can also be the first sign of throat cancer.



3. Persistent lumps or swollen glands

a) Lumps most often represent harmless conditions such as benign cysts. A doctor must check for new lumps or lumps that never disappear.

b) Lumps can be cancer or swollen lymph nodes associated with cancer.

c) Lymph nodes swell due to infection and other causes and may take several weeks to shrink again.

d) Lumps or glands that remain swollen for three to four weeks must be evaluated.



4. Clear changes in warts or moles

a) Multi-colored moles that have irregular or bleeding edges may be cancerous.

b) Larger moles are more worrying and need to be evaluated, especially if they appear to be enlarged.

c) Removing moles is usually simple. You should ask the doctor to evaluate any suspicious moles to be removed. The doctor will send it to be examined under a microscope for skin cancer.



5. Indigestion or difficulty swallowing

a) Most people with chronic heartburn usually don't have serious problems.

b) People who suffer from chronic ulcers even though in antacid treatment may need to undergo upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

c) A condition called Barrett esophagus, which can cause esophageal cancer, can be treated with drugs and then monitored by a doctor.



6. Unusual vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge

a) Unusual vaginal bleeding or blood discharge may be an early sign of uterine cancer. Women should be evaluated when they experience bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between menstrual periods.

b) Returning bleeding, which lasts two days or more, or which is more severe than usual also needs a medical examination.

c) Postmenopausal bleeding, except in patients with hormone therapy, is also worrying and must be evaluated.



7. Unexpected weight loss, night sweats, or fever

a) These non-specific symptoms may present with several different types of cancer.

b) Various infections can cause similar symptoms (for example, tuberculosis).



8. Continuous itching in the anal or genital area

a) Pre-cancerous conditions or cancer of the skin of the genital or anal area can cause persistent itching.

b) Some cancers cause skin discoloration.

c) Some infections or skin conditions (for example, fungal infections or psoriasis) can also cause these symptoms. If itching does not stop with over-the-counter topical medications, your doctor should check the area.



9. Wounds that don't heal

a) Wounds generally heal quickly. If an area fails to heal, you may have cancer and have to see a doctor.

b) Wounds that do not heal in your mouth or white or red patches that persist on your gums, tongue or tonsils should also cause concern.

c) Some wounds that do not heal may be caused by poor circulation (for example, diabetic foot ulcer).



10. Headaches

a) Headaches have many causes (for example, migraines, aneurysms) but cancer is not a common cause.

b) Severe headaches that endlessly feel different from usual can be a sign of cancer, but aneurysms can occur with the same symptoms.

c) If your headache does not improve with over-the-counter drugs, see a doctor immediately.



11. Back pain, pelvic pain, bloating, or indigestion

a) These are common symptoms that often appear in daily life, often related to food intake, muscle cramps or cramps, but they can also be symptoms of ovarian cancer.

b) Ovarian cancer is very difficult to treat, because it is often diagnosed late in the course of the disease.



Reviewed by: de. Sylvani Gani

Source: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/cancer_symptoms/article_em.htm#where_can_people_find_more_information_about_cancer_symptoms_and_signs

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