Often Ignored Warning Signs of a Possible Cancer
Cancer - with it’s many forms and symptoms can affect a plethora of systems in your body. However, depending on the form and where it resides in your body, cancer can reveal its presence quite early. Therefore it is important to look for the common, most alarming and potential warning signs of cancer. In the following list we reveal 13 of these warning signs of cancer.
#1 - General Disclaimer
As always, remember that the internet can not diagnose you. These lists are no replacement for an actual doctor! These are simply potential warning signs; a trained medical professional can give you an actual, full evaluation and diagnosis. These symptoms can be reason to go to a doctor, not a replacement for professional treatment.
#2 - Sudden Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss is present in about 40% of recently diagnosed cancer patients. Cancer can radically alter your metabolism. That can cause you to become fatigued, anemic, insomniac and, yes, cause you to lose weight seemingly without explanation.
#3 - Extreme Fatigue
Your body is in a constant fight against cancer. Cancer cells compete with your healthy cells for energy, leaving you tired and fatigued. It alters how your body processes food, and changes the way your immune system works, all leading to exhaustion and fatigue. This isn't something you can sleep off; it's an ongoing, chronic condition.
#4 - Chronic Headaches
Just because you have a headache doesn't mean you have cancer. However, if you were to have a tumor in your brain, you could experience steady, persistent pain. These aren't regular migraine headaches; this is pain caused by a tumor pressing against blood vessels in your skull. A tumor could be to blame if your headaches do not improve with standard remedies.
#5 - Indigestion and Difficulty Eating
If your cancer is located in your stomach or esophagus, your digestive system may be thrown out of balance. That can cause issues like heartburn, nausea and flatulence. If they are caused by cancer, rather than something more benign, they will persist for an extended period of time, and not be effected by over-the-counter medication. If that's true, it's time to see a doctor.
#6 - Unexplained Lumps or Nodes
The single most iconic sign of cancer would be an unexplained lump or node somewhere on your body. All a tumor is is cells in your body that have grown out of control, meaning that unlike a virus or bacteria, they can sometimes actually be seen or felt under the skin. You lymph nodes, breasts or testicles are the most common places to find these cancerous lumps, but not every lump is a tumor, and not every tumor is malignant. If you do find unexplained lumps, get a doctor's opinion.
#7 - Persistent Cough
The most common cause for that cough that just never quite seems to go away is bronchitis or asthma; you shouldn't jump to the conclusion of cancer right off the bat. However, in cases where your respiratory system or lungs are compromised by tumors, you could have a repeating cough, especially if you're a heavy smoker.
#8 - Mysterious White Patches Inside Your Mouth
Another worry for smokers and tobacco users is blisters and white patches in your mouth, which could be an early warning sign for mouth cancer. It's called "leukoplakia"; these are pre-cancerous areas, but could develop into full blown cancer if left untreated. These are some warning signs you can see before they turn into cancer, so it's one of the most likely things you'll be able to spot and prevent.
#9 - Unexplained Bleeding
Unexplained bleeding is very rarely a good thing. Whether it's from cancer or not, you should be concerned about unexplained bleeding--blood means something, somewhere, has gone wrong in your body, and sometimes, that means cancer. Maybe you're coughing up blood because of lung cancer. Maybe blood is in your urine thanks to bladder cancer. Maybe your stool is bloody due to colon cancer. Even if it's not cancer, it's probably not great--get it checked out!
#10 - Bladder Issues
If cancer were to develop in your bladder or prostate, it will likely be reflected in your normal bladder routine. Sometimes, that means urinating more or less frequently than you normally would. Other times, it might be more obviously serious--blood or pain when urinating, for example. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your physician.
#11 - Changes in Bowel Function
Just like in the previous item about bladder issues, you should be concerned about a significant change in your bowl function. If you have an extended period of time with constipation, diarrhea or blood in your stool, it could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer, and should be seen by a doctor.
#12 - Growing Moles on the Skin
Skin cancer often starts as a slightly odd-looking mole. If your moles start growing, or gets excessive hair growth, then it could be a sign of melanoma. Fortunately, in it's early stages, it's very easy to treat--a dermatologist will just remove the mole in question--so if you notice one early enough, it's a breeze to take care of in a prompt and timely manner.
#13 - Other Symptoms
Cancer is a very broad set of diseases. It can effect essentially every part of your body and, as such, can run the gamut from A to Z in terms of symptoms. Really, if you notice any major, inexplicable changes to your body, you should talk to your doctor. Maybe it's cancer, and maybe it's not--but any strange changes should be cause for concern, and a medical professional can help you sort through them.