Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases and can be difficult to treat if it has progressed to an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis. Early detection and timely intervention are critical to a better prognosis and in ensuring that a person leads a healthy life. There are some early signs and symptoms that could be indicators of cancer. Although they do not necessarily mean that a person has cancer, but getting a proper evaluation from a doctor can be lifesaving.
Here are common signs and symptoms that could be suggestive of cancer:
1 . Persistent Cough Or Hoarseness
Cough is mostly due an allergic, viral or bacterial infection and goes away in a couple of weeks. Hoarseness can be a result of respiratory allergies or a polyp in the vocal cord. If your cough or hoarseness persists for over 3-4 weeks you must get it checked. More so, if you have a nagging cough or cough with blood stained mucous, it could indicate lung cancer and requires thorough clinical evaluation.
2 . Breast Changes
Most of the lumps in the breasts are noncancerous. But any lump in the breast needs a thorough investigation. If you have a lump your doctor will suggest a mammogram ( X-ray of the breast) to evaluate the lump further. Also, if there is any discharge from the nipple especially bloody, it is mandatory to consult a doctor to rule out the possibility of breast cancer.
3 . Change In Bowel Habits
If you have been experiencing any changes in your bowel habits for over 4 weeks, you need to see your doctor. The symptoms suggestive of colon cancer include, blood in your stools, diarrhea or constipation that lasts for more than 4 weeks, a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels , pain in your abdomen or around anus and persistent bloating.
4 . Change In The Size Or Appearance Of A Mole
The change in the size, margins, color, curvature, depth and elevation of a mole or a new mole that is rapidly growing could be a sign of skin cancer.
5 . Blood In Urine
The presence of blood in urine, also known as hematuria can be a result of urinary infection, kidney stone or any growth in the urinary tract. Sometimes, it could be an indicator of cancer of the bladder or kidneys.
6 . Rapid Weight Loss
One of the classical signs of cancer is rapid weight loss without one trying to do so. Almost half the people with cancer lose weight by the time they get diagnosed. However, there are many other non-cancerous causes of weight loss. So, it is best to get it evaluated.
7 . Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding
When you are on a contraceptive pill, spotting in between your periods is very common and is not anything serious. However, if you have vaginal bleeding between periods or of you have bleeding after sex or in the post-menopausal stage, you should get it evaluated by the doctor for uterine or cervical cancer.
8 . A Non-Healing Ulcer In The Mouth
If you have an oral ulcer that is not healing over 3-4 weeks, you must seek a doctor’s opinion. A non-healing oral ulcer could be a sign of oral cancer, especially in smokers and people who chew tobacco.
So, if you or anyone in your family has been experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to seek a doctor’s opinion and get a thorough clinical evaluation done. Remember, early detection can be a life saver in cancer.