For the successful treatment of cancer, early detection is of paramount importance. Hence it is necessary to be aware of the symptoms that cancer can bring on. The symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer, its location, and its progression. The symptoms manifest when the cancerous growth presses on some part of the body. Given below is a list of signs that everyone needs to be aware of; however, it is essential to remember that these symptoms might also be caused by conditions other than cancer. Hence if any of the symptoms are observed, do not panic. Get yourself checked by a doctor to make sure that there is nothing to worry about.
1. Changes in the Breast or Nipple: This is a symptom of breast cancer. A lump in the breast is the most common symptom, but there are other symptoms too. If you detect a lump, get it checked immediately. The other symptoms include:
Discharge from the nipples
Itching in the skin around the breast
Nipples turning inwards
Breasts swelling up
Lump in the armpit
2. Changes in Bowel Movement: This could be a symptom of colorectal cancer. On the other hand, it could also be due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or might indicate the onset of periods. Other symptoms may include blood in stools, dark-colored stools, stomach ache, diarrhea, and constipation. If these symptoms persist for many days together, it is best to consult a doctor.
3. Puffiness: This puffiness may be due to the cancer mass pressing on the veins that carry blood to the heart. The face, neck, arms, and chest may be the parts affected by this.
4. Persistent Cough: A tumor in the vocal cords could manifest as a cough. This might also be coupled with a change in voice (voice becomes hoarse), and the patient might notice blood while coughing.
5. Changes in Mole Size or Appearance: This symptom can be picked up easily with regular self-examination. If a mole looks to be getting bigger, it is best to consult a doctor and get it checked – it could be a symptom of skin cancer. This kind of cancer usually affects the parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight.
6. Lack of Hunger: This happens when the cancer growth thrusts onto the stomach and gives a feeling of fullness. Another reason could also be that sometimes there are certain hormones produced in a cancer patient, and these hormones stand in the way of the patient feeling hungry.
7. Appearance of White Specks in the Throat: These white specks may be on the cheeks, gums, or even the tongue, and the condition is called leukoplakia. Leukoplakia might have several causes, the most common being smoking. Sometimes leukoplakia can evolve into cancer.
8. Heartburn: Stomach cancer may have heartburn as one of its symptoms. Vomiting and gagging, too, might be experienced.
9. Fatigue: Everyone experiences fatigue. But if the feeling of fatigue persists for many days together without any known cause, it is best to consult a doctor and rule out any underlying issue. Fatigue, which has cancer as its cause, will not get better even after resting. This is because the cancer cells use up the nutrients required by the body leaving the person tired.
10. Night Sweats: Night sweats are different from normal sweating in that they are very intense and leave your blankets and pillows soaked. They may be a symptom of leukemia, bone cancer, liver cancer, etc. Another cause of night sweats is menopause.
Some cancers are asymptomatic and do not produce any symptoms. For example, liver cancer in the early stage does not create any visible signs. Some of the other symptoms mentioned above and yellowish eyes and skin might be present later. People who have liver diseases are more at risk and hence should stay on guard. When detected early, surgery can be performed to remove the tumor cells. Many good oncologists can be consulted to ensure that all is normal and there is nothing to worry about.