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Cancer Signs | Top 10 Early Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

It’s, important to realize, that there are some Cancer Signs that most people often ignore and that we should all be aware of. Whilst, bearing in mind, when it comes to aches, pains, and other health-related problems, just because something seems minor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Certain research even supports the need for personal awareness.

According to one of its findings, it notes that even common ailments can be the first warning of cancer signs. Meaning, that before you discount that persistent cough as just another part of the flu season, you might want to ask your doctor to give it a second glance. As an example, in Kenya, cancer is the second most common cause of death after heart disease to be precise.

But, a significant percentage of newly diagnosed cancers can be cured — it’s more curable when detected early — but some are still more life-threatening. Although some cancers develop completely without symptoms, the disease can be particularly devastating. Especially, if you ignore symptoms because you do not think that these symptoms might represent cancer.

Fortunately, even though cancer is still the second-leading cause of death in the world, its survival rates are improving for many types of cancer. More so, thanks to improvements in cancer screening, treatment, and prevention. That said, in the next section, we’ll try to learn more about it and perhaps give answers to a few of the topmost cancer quizzes in general.

Understanding The General Anatomy: Cancers, Cysts & Tumors

As per Wikipedia, cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. More so, since possible signs and symptoms can include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements.

But, while these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes — there are over 100 types of known cancers and other causes of cancer that affect humans. In the most basic terms, cancer refers to cells that grow out of control and invade other tissues. Cells may become cancerous due to the accumulation of defects, or mutations, in their DNA.

Certain inherited genetic defects (for example, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations) and infections can increase the risk of cancer. Environmental factors (for example, air pollution) and poor lifestyle choices — such as smoking and heavy alcohol use — can also damage DNA and lead to cancer. Most of the time, our body cells can easily detect and repair DNA damage, yes.

What about cysts and tumors? By definition, a cyst is a small sac that may contain fluid, air, or solid material. The majority of cysts are not cancerous. In the same fashion, a Tumor is an abnormal mass of cells or tissue that forms when abnormal cells group together. By all means, tumors can affect bones, skin, tissue, organs, glands, and any other body part to be precise.

A tumor may be:
  • Cancerous: Malignant or cancerous tumors can spread into nearby tissue, glands, and other parts of the body. The new tumors are metastases (mets). Cancerous tumors can come back after treatment (cancer recurrence). These tumors can be life-threatening.
  • Noncancerous: Benign tumors are not cancerous and are rarely life-threatening. They’re localized, which means they don’t typically affect nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body. Many noncancerous tumors don’t need treatment. But some noncancerous tumors press on other body parts and do need medical care.
  • Precancerous: These noncancerous tumors can become cancerous if not treated.

Tumors can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). On one side, Benign Tumors grow locally and do not spread, and as a result, they are not considered cancer. They can still be dangerous, especially, if they press against vital organs like the brain. Malignant Tumors, on the other side, can spread and invade other tissues (see more cancer types below).

The process of Malignant Tumors is known as metastasis and is a key feature of cancer. There are many different types of malignancy based on where a cancer tumor originates. But, as you can see, many tumors are not cancer (they’re benign). But they still may need treatment. Cancerous, or malignant, tumors can be life-threatening and require cancer treatment.

Just like we aforementioned, if a body cell is severely damaged and cannot repair itself, it usually undergoes so-called programmed cell death or apoptosis. Be that as it may, we can clearly state that cancer can easily occur when damaged cells grow, divide, and spread abnormally instead of self-destructing as they should. So, what are the risk factors to note?

The Early Cancer Signs Risk Factors In Men & Women

On one hand, in most cases, the early symptoms and cancer signs in men can include changes in various physical and wellness changes. Such as bowel habits, unintentional weight loss, testicular changes, and urination difficulties. Important to realize, therefore, recognizing the warning signs of cancer can significantly improve a person’s outlook.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), when it comes down to cancer oncology, males are more likely to die from cancer than females. Some people may not notice the early signs of cancer or may confuse them for symptoms of other conditions. After all, knowing which symptoms may indicate cancer can help a person get treatment sooner.

On the other hand, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. And one woman dies due to breast cancer every 13 minutes. Susan G. Komen, the largest breast cancer organization in the United States, estimates that there will be 268,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer in 2018 alone.

While these statistics are sobering, breast cancer mortality rates have declined by 39 percent. Especially, due to the continued dedication to researching the disease. Generally speaking, women’s bodies are always changing. Sometimes changes that seem normal can be signs of cancer, though. For one thing, surely, the key important thing is to pay attention to your body.

Moving on, just like we aforementioned, cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells — that divide uncontrollably and can infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Often, cancer can spread throughout your body and it often has no specific symptoms — so people must limit their risk factors.

Resource Reference: How To Spot The Early Warning Cancer Signs

Not to mention, eventually, by undergoing appropriate cancer screening, you can help identify if you have any cancer signs or not. And diagnose them early enough before they become life-threatening. Moreover, most cancer screening is specific to certain age groups and your primary care doctor will know what screening to perform depending on your age.

For instance, consider that unexplained lump that doesn’t go away easily. Any time you have a lump that is new or a lump that is changing, that is something you should have looked at by your doctor. While it could be a benign cyst (and likely is), it could also be cancer that is in the subterranean tissue. A lump in the breast is a very common symptom of breast cancer.

The Most Common Cancer Signs & Symptoms

In that case, you can notice when something’s different. Usually, new symptoms, more often than not, indicate something has changed in your body, and you want to know what that means. On that note, try to see your physician to get more information. Overall, the best way to fight cancers is by prevention (eliminating or decreasing risk factors) and early detection.

The Overall Topmost Common Cancer Signs For You To Know

Cancer gives most people no symptoms or signs that exclusively indicate the disease. Unfortunately, every complaint or symptom of cancer can be explained by a harmless condition as well. Some cancers occur more frequently in certain age groups. If certain symptoms occur or persist, however, a doctor should be seen for further evaluation.

People with risk factors for cancer should be acutely aware of potential cancer symptoms and have frequent checkups. For example, smokers, heavy alcohol abuse, high sun exposure, genetics, and the like. And also, try to be evaluated by a physician if any develop. Your physician should recommend a chest X-ray or CT scan to rule out cancer as a possibility.

According to a new study, more than half of adults have experienced alarm bells that could mean cancer signs. And yet, just two percent of them believed cancer could be a possible cause. For example, if there is blood in the urine, that could be indicative of bladder or kidney cancer. But, more commonly this is a sign of a urinary tract infection.

Generally speaking, cancer treatment advances every year and combined with early detection has made many cancers treatable. Consequently, individuals need to know which symptoms might point to cancer. Never ignore a warning sign that might lead to early diagnosis and possibly to a cure. With that in mind, below are some of the most common cancer signs.

1. Some notable difficulty in swallowing 

Two cancers may be behind this symptom, including neck and esophageal cancer. People who see these symptoms will often start to modify their diets, eating softer foods without thinking there could be a more serious issue. The bottom line is that if people are experiencing any persistent symptoms, they should go to their doctor for advice.

Difficulty swallowing is a common problem, especially in elderly people, and has many causes. In most cases, swallowing problems need to be investigated because nutrition is always important. Always remember, that difficulty swallowing solids can be seen with cancer of the esophagus. Sometimes, most people would even fear eating if they have swollen glands too.

Usually, lymph nodes swell from infection and other causes and may take weeks to shrink again. Suffice it to say, a lump or gland that remains swollen for three to four weeks should be evaluated. A colonoscopy is usually recommended. A routine colonoscopy, even without symptoms, is recommended once you are 50 years old.

2. Unexplained weight loss & persistent lumps

As adults, we try very hard to lose weight by all means necessary. But, if weight is falling off of you without any effort on your part, that is a big concern. And can be indicative of a serious medical problem. One of those problems, she says, could be malignancy or a tumor. Lumps most frequently represent harmless conditions such as benign cysts.

A doctor should examine any new lump or a lump that won’t go away. For it may represent cancer or a swollen lymph gland related to cancer. Most men (90%) with cancer of the testicle have a painless or uncomfortable lump on the testicle. Some men have an enlarged testicle. Other conditions, such as infections and swollen veins, can also cause changes in your testicles.

Any lump must be thoroughly evaluated by your professional medical consultant. Men are advised to conduct monthly testicular self-examinations. By the same token, most breast lumps are noncancerous tumors such as fibroadenomas or cysts. But, all breast lumps need to be thoroughly investigated for the possibility of breast cancer.

3. Unexpected bleeding or blood in the urine

Vaginal bleeding — outside of your normal cycle — could be an early sign of cervical cancer. While bleeding from the rectum could indicate colon cancer. Still, Hematuria or blood in the urine can be caused by a urinary infection, kidney stones, or other causes. The blood could be visible by the naked eye or might be found on a urine examination (microscopic hematuria).

For some people, it is a symptom of cancer of the bladder or kidney. Thus, any episode of blood in the urine should be thoroughly investigated. Urinary symptoms can include frequent urination, small amounts of urine, slow urine flow, or a general change in bladder function. Or caused by urinary infections (usually in women) or, in men, by an enlarged prostate gland.

Most men will suffer from harmless prostate enlargement as they age and will often have these urinary symptoms. These symptoms may also signal prostate cancer. Men experiencing urinary symptoms need further investigation, possibly including blood tests and a digital rectal exam. The PSA blood test, its indications, and the interpretation of results may be discussed.

4. A sore that does not heal or heartburn and anemia

If you have a sore that’s hanging on past the three-week mark, you should bring it up with your doctor. We would have expected our body to have healed itself by now, and you should get that checked out. That kind of sore could be a sign of carcinoma. Most people with chronic heartburn usually do not have serious problems.

People who suffer from chronic or lasting symptoms despite using over-the-counter antacids may need to have an upper GI endoscopy. A condition called Barrett Esophagus, which can lead to cancer of the esophagus, can be treated with medication and then monitored by a doctor. Sometimes, you may also get a sudden change in body temperature (be anemic).

To elaborate, anemia is a condition in which people have fewer than the expected number of red blood cells in their blood. Anemia should always be investigated. There are many kinds of anemia, but blood loss almost always causes iron deficiency anemia. Unless there is an obvious source of ongoing blood loss, this anemia needs to be explained.

5. A change in mole appearance or breast discharge

While not all moles are indicative of melanoma, spotting a new mark or one that has changed is something you should bring up with a dermatologist. But, who can screen for skin cancer? Anyone needs to have a regular checkup. Mostly, if you observe skin changes such as a lump that bleeds or turns scaly, a new mole or a change in a mole, a sore that does not heal, etc.

Or even a yellowish color to the skin or eyes (jaundice). Multicolored moles that have irregular edges or bleed may be cancerous. Larger moles are more worrisome and need to be evaluated, especially, if they seem to be enlarging. Concerning that, discharge from a breast is common, but some forms of discharge may be signs of cancer that need investigation.

If the discharge is bloody or from only one nipple, further evaluation is recommended. Women are advised to conduct monthly breast self-examinations. Realistically, a negative mammogram result is not usually sufficient to evaluate a breast lump. Your doctor needs to determine the appropriate X-ray study which might include an MRI or an ultrasound of the breast.

6. A persistent or unexplained pain

Most pain is not a sign of cancer, but persistent pain must be checked out. If you have persistent headaches, for example, you likely don’t have brain cancer — but it is still something that must be looked into. Persistent pain in the chest could be a sign of lung cancer. And a pain in your abdomen could be ovarian cancer. In reality, headaches have many causes.

For example, you may consider migraines, and aneurysms — but cancer is not a common one. A severe unrelenting headache that feels different from usual can be a sign of cancer, but aneurysms may present in the same way. If your headache fails to improve with over-the-counter medications, see a doctor promptly. If cancer is suspected, a prostate biopsy is needed.

Not to mention, in men, cancer of the bladder and pelvic tumors can also irritate the bladder and urinary frequency. The best way is to seek some medical attention to come up with the best pain-relieving remedy if not cancer-related. Sometimes when the source of bleeding is entirely clear (for example, recurrent ulcers), colonoscopy studies may not be needed.

7. A sudden change in bladder habits

If there is blood in the urine, that could be indicative of bladder or kidney cancer. But, more commonly this is a sign of a urinary tract infection. With this in mind, check for an infection first, then pursue other treatment options. These nonspecific symptoms might be present with several different types of cancer — pancreatic cancer can appear with weight loss and no specific pain.

However, various infections can still lead to similar symptoms (for example, tuberculosis). Unusual vaginal bleeding or bloody discharge may be an early sign of cancer of the uterus. Women should be evaluated when they have bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between periods. Note bleeding that comes back, and that lasts two or more days longer than expected.

Or rather, take note if it is heavier than usual and also merits medical examination. Postmenopausal bleeding, unless expected on hormone therapy, is also worrisome and should be evaluated. Usually, the evaluation will include an endometrial biopsy. Whereby, a doctor takes a small tissue sample from inside the uterus for testing. A pap smear should be part of every woman.

8. Change in bowel movements and itchiness

When your bowel movements aren’t as easy as they once were or your stool appears larger than normal or somewhat deformed, this could be a sign of colon cancer. It could be a sign that there is a mass impeding the transit of the stool from the bowel. This is a symptom where a person should go to the doctor and schedule a colonoscopy to see if there indeed is a mass.

It can be caused by a simple allergy or by vocal cord polyps, yes, but it could also be the first sign of cancer of the throat. Precancerous or cancerous conditions of the skin of the genital or anal areas can cause persistent itching. Some cancers cause skin color changes, whereas several infections or skin conditions can also cause these symptoms to showcase.

For fungal infections or psoriasis, if itching in the anal or genital area persists with over-the-counter medications, your doctor should inspect the area. Remember, many cancers can cause anemia, but bowel cancers most commonly cause iron deficiency anemia. Evaluation should include endoscopy or X-ray studies of your upper and lower intestinal tracts.

A doctor always should investigate blood in your stool since Hemorrhoids frequently cause rectal bleeding. One thing is for sure, hemorrhoids are so common, thus they may exist with cancer. Therefore, even when you have hemorrhoids, you should have a doctor examine your entire intestinal tract when you have blood in your bowel movements.

9. A cumulative cough or hoarseness

Of course, yes, persistent cough or blood-tinged saliva may showcase symptoms that usually represent simple infections such as bronchitis or sinusitis. They could also be possible symptoms of lung cancer or head and neck cancer. Anyone with a nagging cough that lasts more than a month or with blood in the mucus that is coughed up should see a doctor.

While a cough here and there is nothing to worry about, a consistent cacophony or a cough accompanied by blood is cause for concern. Most coughs are not cancer, but certainly, a persistent cough needs to be evaluated to see if it could be lung cancer. Hoarseness not caused by a respiratory infection or that lasts longer than three to four weeks should be evaluated.

Sores generally heal quickly. If an area fails to heal, you may have cancer and should see a doctor. Non-healing sores in your mouth or persistent white or red patches on your gums, tongue, or tonsils also should raise concerns. Some nonhealing sores may be due to poor circulation (for example, diabetic foot ulcers).

10. Notable eating problems and bowel habits

Last but not least, it could also be a result of eating problems such as not feeling hungry, trouble swallowing, belly pain, or nausea and vomiting. You may also consider fatigue or extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest. Still, as an example, back pain, pelvic pain, bloating, or indigestion are common symptoms of daily life.

Whereby, they are often related to food intake, muscle spasms, or strains, but they also can be seen in ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is particularly difficult to treat because it is frequently diagnosed late in the course of the disease. The American Cancer Society and other organizations have been trying to make both patients and physicians more aware.

Most changes in bowel habits are related to your diet and fluid intake. Doctors sometimes see pencil-thin stools with colon cancer. Occasionally, cancer exhibits continuous diarrhea. Some people with cancer feel as if they need to have a bowel movement and still feel that way after they have had a bowel movement. Some changes may even last more than a few days.

And, as such, if they last more than expected, then they require evaluation. Any significant change in bowel habits that cannot be easily explained by dietary changes could be cancer-related and needs to be evaluated. Fortunately, with some individuals, X-ray studies may be enough to clarify a diagnosis. And then, the doctor can offer you the best possible treatment.

Takeaway Notes;

When it comes to aches, pains, and other health problems, even if it’s minor it doesn’t mean taking it less for it could be Cancer Signs needing some check-up. Perse, Breast Cancer is an awareness cause we can all rally behind. But, many people have questioned whether or not whipping out your credit card to buy all of that pink gear, or rather, Donate is the best way.

Especially, to join the fight — the answer of course, to that and more similar questions still lies upon you and me equally. For your information, every October, the world busts out the hot pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month as an annual international health campaign. In particular, the campaign is organized by major breast cancer charities in the United States.

To raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer, and with a mission of raising funds for research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of the disease. Professional athletes trade in their team colors for pink gear, and retail stores flood their racks with purchasable pink items. Especially the pink apparel, pink jewelry, pink decor, and the like.

Other More Related Resourceful References:
  1. 15 Cancer Symptoms Women Should Never Ignore
  2. Liver Cancer | The Key Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
  3. Understanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, And More
  4. Breast Biopsy | What Is An MRI Scan & How Is It Done?
  5. Skin Cancer | Early Signs, Symptoms & Some Precautions
  6. Inflammation Cancer Risks | How A Lifestyle Change Helps

Having that in mind, you too can get involved in taking care of your health and wellness, especially, by knowing if you have any early cancer signs. Your network is powerful! Use your voice, passion, and resources to help us all arise to reach every man and woman and make sure she or he has access to the cancer signs screening, support, and care as deserved.

Be that as it may, if you have a research article, additions, or even more contributions (to get Free FAQ Answers from us) that you’d like to make, you can always Contact Us at any time and let us know. Or rather, feel free to leave your suggestions, and recommendations, in our comments section. Until the next one, thanks for reading this guide, you are welcome!

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