Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Symptoms and Detection of Breast Cancer


An overview

Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells that spreads throughout the body and harms your body in many ways. Cancer has the highest mortality rate and can affect people of almost every age and gender. Cancer has the potential to invade other organs.

Many causation factors are linked with this dangerous disease like smoking, virus, poor diet, exposure to certain chemicals, etc. In its early stages, cancer disease is known to be sub-clinical and doesn't show any predominant classical signs and symptoms. As cancer approaches the advanced stage, the signs and symptoms begin to appear.

These signs and symptoms include weight loss, unusual bleeding, extreme tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes, etc.

The risk of certain types of cancers can be minimised by avoiding the risk factors associated with cancer such as known cancer causing agents (example: carcinogens). There are some encouraging signs of success that have been noticed with tobacco control. According to the American Cancer Society, a remarkable reduction in cancer occurs with the prevention of tobacco habits.

This article will describe in detail the signs and symptoms of cancer.


Following are the signs and symptoms of cancer

1. Weight Loss

When you lose weight for no reason, call your doctor or GP. A loss of 10 pounds or more could be nothing to worry about. However, in rare cases of cancer, it may be the first sign of cancer.

You should also speak to a doctor if you have lost a lot of weight over the few weeks that can't be explained by changes to your diet, exercise, or stress.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 45 percent of people with cancer report an unexplained weight loss.

The type of cancers often related to unexplained rapid weight loss includes lung cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer. Despite cancer cells' effect, cancer treatment or chemotherapy has also often caused weight loss.

The medication used for the treatment of cancers causes a noticeable loss of appetite which indirectly leads to weight loss. Radiation and chemotherapy are also attributed to unexplained weight loss.


common signs

2. Enlarged Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes often become swollen when you have a fever, but if the swelling persists after you are well, you should talk to your doctor to find out if there are any cancer signs present.

Lymph nodes are the part of body's immune system and help to capture harmful substances in the blood. Normal lymph nodes are tiny and can be hard to find. But when the lymph nodes are infection, inflammation, or cancer, the nodes can get larger. The cancer cells can enter blood trapped in the lymph nodes and lead to the enlargement of lymph nodes. Possible signs of enlarged lymph are most commonly found in the neck region.


3. Persistent Ulcers

When the lesion on your body remain for a longer time and do not seem to respond to the usual treatment, you should talk to your doctor and understand if this may be a cause for concern. The patient may experience unusual bleeding from the cancer lesions.

The lesion changes its colour from the adjacent tissue, and the patient may experience unexplained pain in that area. Doctors will then take a biopsy from the lesions and examine them pathologically to rule out any chances of malignant or benign cancer. The pathological study will show cancer cells in the lesion, if detected.

Your doctor may advise surgical excision of the entire lesion. Sometimes the cancer cells may remain in the lesion which results in recurrent cancer.


4. Changes in skin of cancer patients

Our skin is the larger organ of our body and can be a window to our health. Jaundice is one symptom that could suggest a possible sign of infection or liver cancer. Contact your doctor if you notice any signs of jaundice.

Changes in moles can also be a cause for concern. A shift in the appearance of a mole should be assessed by a doctor. Similarly, a lump anywhere on your body should be examined by a qualified doctor. Changes to an existing mole on your skin such as itching, bleeding, or a change in shape or colour may be an alarming sign of cancer.


5. Feeling tired

Most often, cancer patients will experience feeling tired without doing any physical work. It is important to speak to your doctor if you feel unwell and tired and you are not sure why.

The bone and muscles of cancer patients become weak and are easily fatigued with minimal physical activity.

To view an at-home tiredness test, click here


6. Changes in bowel habits

If you have noticed changes in your bowel habits and they last for a few weeks or more you should speak to a GP. Along with this, tummy discomfort, swollen tummy, blood in your stool, diarrhoea, or constipation for no obvious reason are signs of concern for cancer.

In female cancer patients, vaginal bleeding has been also observed. Vaginal bleeding occurs in pelvic cancers.


7. Persistent pain

Pain is another symptom that can be caused by various diseases, but persistent pain for longer periods can also hint at an underlying disease. Cancer can cause pain in different ways, including the mass or cancer lesion pressing the nerves which send pain signals to the brain.

Generalised unexplained pain is one way our bodies show that something is wrong. Persistent unexplained pain could be a sign of something more serious.


8. Difficulty swallowing

If you feel as though food is getting stuck in your throat or you have trouble swallowing for more than two weeks, this can be a sign of throat, lung, or stomach cancer.

Similarly, it is normal to feel slight discomfort or pain sometimes after eating a large, fatty, or spicy food, but persistent heartburn or indigestion can link with cancer signs.


9. Frequent urination

Urine habits can also change with bladder and prostate cancer. Cancer patients will feel an urge to urinate frequently, and the bladder will be full sooner than usual.

The urine of cancer patients will contain cancer cells and other cancers marker. Pain during urination has been also observed in some cancer patients.


10. Cancer marker

A cancer marker is a specialised substance found in the blood of cancer patients. It can be seen in the blood under microscopic examination. These substances have been released by the cancer cells.

Different cancers have different cancer markers. These include CEA for lung cancer, CA125 for breast cancer, AFP for liver cancer, and PSA for prostate cancer.


11. Other signs and symptoms

a. Night sweats

b. Belly pain

c. New mole on the skin

d. Fatigue


If you have any of the symptoms stated above, take a test today and find out.

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