Cancer is one of the most deadliest and painful diseases out there. Because there are so many different forms of cancers and because there are no known cures, it makes it even more scarier. Catching, or finding out about the symptoms and signs which lead to cancer, is of extreme importance. In fact, it is a matter of life and death. Often times, too many people ignore the cancer symptoms and wait until it is too late. Here are 12 common cancer symptoms that you should never ignore and be on the lookout for. Knowing about them, could very well save your life or that of a loved one.
1. Rapid Weight Loss
Unless you are working out everyday or on a diet, rapid weight loss should not be ignored. If, however, you are maintaining your normal, everyday routine, and are rapidly losing weight, it should be a cause for concern. Quick weight loss, without trying, are usually symptoms of cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus and/or lung. In the event that you go through a rapid weight loss of at least 5 to 10 pounds in a week, even if you lead an active lifestyle, consult a doctor.
2. Unexplainable Pain
Most of us go through some sort of pain due to various reasons such as work, exercising and doing daily chores. However, having constant, long-lasting and unexplainable pain, are red flags to be wary of. Especially if the pain does not seem to go away with basic medication. Chronic pain are either bone, brain or testicular cancer symptoms. Also, continuous back pain, can be a sign of either ovarian or colon cancer. Headaches which never seem to go away, may also be a symptom of brain cancer.
3. White spots in the mouth
Leukoplakia, is a disorder of the mucus membrane which is characterized by white patches on the tongue, cheek, penis or vulva. Still, leukoplakia is a pre-cancerous condition, normally associated with tobacco users. It may also lead to cancer, if left untreated. Most people tend to ignore or dismiss ulcers and/or mouth sores. However, for regular tobacco users and drinkers, these are signs that should be immediately looked into.
4. Swollen Foot
One of the most common symptoms of cancer often ignored by both men and women are a swollen foot or leg. For women, swelling in the foot or leg, combined with vaginal discharge and/or pain, are signs of cervical cancer. This is according to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and other experts. While there may be some other reason for a swollen foot or leg, if they are accompanied by the other ailments, contact a doctor immediately.
In many cases, cancer directly affects the immune system. This makes it harder for your body to fend off infections such as a fever. Because fevers are so common, many people simply shrug it off as just a fever. On the other hand, having a fever that won’t go away or without any explanation, is a cause for concern. Aside from cancer, leukemia, lymphoma or another blood cancer, can also cause this.
6. Strange Bleeding
An obvious cause for concern when it comes to strange bleeding would be signs like coughing up blood. This is one of the symptoms of lung or throat cancer. In addition, changes in the color of your stool, or blood in your bowel movements, can be a sign of colon cancer. For women, abnormal vaginal bleeding can often be associated with either endometrial or cervical cancer. Moreover, blood in the urine can be construed as kidney or bladder cancer. Lastly, any type of bloody discharge from a nipple, could also be a symptom of breast cancer.
7. Chronic Fatigue
Being tired is very common; especially for those that work all day or deal with the grind of everyday life. However, going through extreme fatigue, or chronic tiredness which never goes away, is a red flag worth looking into. There are numerous types of cancers which cause bone-deep tiredness and pain that never seems to get better. Chronic fatigue, or fatigue which even sleep can’t cure, can either be a sign of leukemia, colon cancer, or cancer of the stomach. This is according to the American Cancer Society
8. Unidentified Lumps
Unidentified or sudden lumps under your skin, are common symptoms of testicular and breast cancer. Lumps of any kind, can occur in any parts of the human body, regardless of gender. Because testicular or breast cancer often develop rapidly, both men and women should examine themselves regularly. At least once a month should be the norm. Also, keep in mind that cancerous lumps are able to form in even odd places. With that in mind, never hesitate to contact your doctor if you see any lump under your skin.
9. Change in bowel or bladder habits
Although diarrhea, constipation or a change in size of the stool are normal occurrences for many people, long-term effects of these two are also symptoms of colon or rectal cancer. If you notice sudden changes in your bladder or bowel habits, take precaution. From blood in urine, to pain when urinating, these could be signs of something serious. Also, be wary of suddenly needing to go more often or less than usual. These are also common symptoms associated with either prostate or bladder cancer.
10. Skin Changes
Because we tend to notice changes in our skin so much, skin cancers are one of the easiest cancers to detect early. Having a skin tag, mold, wart or freckle that suddenly changes color, shape or size, is cause for alarm. Having dark patches on your skin, especially if the border of the discolored area begins to fade, are also common signs of melanoma. For those that spend a lot of time outdoors, taking care of their skin is essential. If you are one of those people, remain vigilant against any changes occurring to your skin.
11. Constant Coughing
For those that do not smoke, a persistent, constant cough is almost never cancer, as they usually go away after 3 to 4 weeks. However, if your cough does not go away, and it is accompanied by shortness of breath or coughing up blood, then visit a doctor right away. This is even more important to those that do smoke, since these are common symptoms of lung cancer. By testing the mucus from your lungs, doctors can quickly determine if you have an infection or serious problems.
While changes in your eating habits, diet or stress levels can be normal reasons for heartburn, a persistent one should be cause for alarm. Anytime you have heartburn that does not go away, or gets worse as the days go by, see a doctor. These are usually signs of either throat or stomach cancer.
The sad truth is that most people tend to put off visiting their doctors as often as they should. This is even done when they are experiencing symptoms such as those described here. Because cancer is so deadly, can spread and attack so fast, and no cure has been found, ignoring the signs can be fatal. Using a pre-emptive approach towards cancer, or any diseases, is the only way to be able to combat or beat them.