Signs that you have cancer: early detection is key, this could save your life.
If you notice any of the following unexplained warning signs, don’t delay—make the time to consult a doctor promptly.
Unexplained weight loss.
While most people would be happy to drop pounds without dieting, unexplained weight loss (of 10 or more pounds) or sudden loss of appetite are among the most common warning signs of cancer, says Dr. Shepard. This symptom is most likely to occur with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus or lung, reports the American Cancer Society (ACS). It may turn out not to be cancer—there are a number of other serious health conditions that may cause this symptom, including an overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver disease, and depression.
Persistent low-grade fever.
This can be the first symptom of certain cancers, particularly leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Low-grade fever—meaning a temperature between 99.8 and 100.8—can also be caused by a wide range of infections.
“If you suddenly can’t get through the day without taking a 3-or 4-four nap, when you never need one before, that can be suggestive of cancer,” says Dr. Shepard. According to the ACS report, this symptom is particularly likely to occur with leukemia, as well as cancers that cause blood loss, such as colon cancer or stomach cancer. Other medical conditions that cause profound exhaustion include anemia, sleep disorders, heart problems, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.
A sore that doesn’t heal or skin changes.
You probably know that moles that are asymmetrical (one half doesn’t match the other), have irregular borders, contain a variety of colors, or are larger than a pencil eraser can be warning signs of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. What’s not well known, however, is that skin sores or changes (including a persistent rash) can also herald other forms of cancer. Dr. Shepard had a patient whose first symptom of colon cancer was a sore on his scalp that didn’t heal. He has also had patients with lung cancer and lymphoma whose symptoms included persistent rashes.
9 Early Signs of Lung Cancer
Trouble swallowing or chronic hoarseness.
These symptoms, along with lip sores that don’t heal, unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth, and chronic sore throat, can herald oral cancer. Other reasons for chronic hoarseness can include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), allergies, cancer of the throat or laryngx, smoking, and underactive thyroid, reports the National Institute of Health. A wide range of esophageal disorders can impair swallowing.
White patches in your mouth.
Also known as leukoplakia, these thickened whitish or gray patches on the gums, inside of the cheeks, or the tongue are often mistaken for thrush (an infection that causes white patches). Unlike thrush, which can be scraped away, leukoplakia cannot be removed in this manner. While the condition isn’t always harmful, oral cancer often occurs near leukoplakia patches, the Mayo Clinic reports, and the patches themselves can develop cancerous changes.
Blood in the toilet.
This symptom is frequently dismissed by patients, says Dr. Shepard. “People are quick to think that the problem is a urinary tract infection even if they’ve never had one before. However, blood in the urine can also be a sign of bladder cancer and needs to be investigated by a urologist. Oftentimes, bladder cancer isn’t diagnosed until it reaches an incurable stage because people wait so long to see a doctor.” Similarly, it can be a dangerous mistake to dismiss blood in the stool as being triggered by a hemorrhoid, since it could also be a warning sign of colon cancer, as is any change in your normal bowel habits.
This can be an early symptom of testicular or bone cancer. A headache that doesn’t get better with treatment, such as taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, may signal a brain tumor, while back pain can mark colon or ovarian cancer, the ACS reports. “Unexplained pain is one of the more common symptoms of cancer and always warrants a consultation with your doctor,” says Dr. Shepard.
A lump or thickening.
Several types of cancer, including those of the breast, testicles, and lymph nodes can be felt through the skin. A lump or thickening can either be an early or late sign of cancer,
The signs mentioned above are the most common ones. if you feel like there’s something wrong with the way your body works or if some problem takes longer to cure,you should immediately consult a doctor and so have a better chance of surviving cancer , because the treatment works best if it’s diagnosed early.