Don’t rely on routine tests alone to protect yourself from cancer. It is equally important to listen to your body and notice something unusual, strange or inexplicable.
Here are some signs that are often overlooked:
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
One of the first signs that many lung cancer patients remember is the inability to catch their breath.
- Chronic cough or chest pain. Some lung cancer patients complain of chest pain that radiates to the shoulder or down the arm.
Did you know that cancer cells thrive in acidity? Cancer cells grow in an acidic environment, but cease to exist in an alkaline environment.
- Frequent fevers or infections. These may be signs of leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow. Leukemia causes the bone marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, undermining the body’s ability to fight infections.
- Difficulty swallowing
Difficulty swallowing is most often associated with cancer of the esophagus or throat, and is sometimes also one of the first signs of lung cancer.
- Swollen lymph nodes or bumps in the neck, armpits, or groin.
Enlarged lymph nodes indicate changes in the lymphatic system, which may be a sign of cancer.
- Excessive bruising or bleeding that won’t stop.
This symptom usually suggests that something is wrong with the platelets and red blood cells, which could be a sign of leukemia. Over time, leukemia cells crowd out red blood cells and platelets, impairing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and clot.
- Weakness and fatigue
General fatigue and weakness are symptoms of so many different types of cancer that they must be considered in conjunction with other symptoms. But any time you feel exhausted for no reason and he doesn’t respond to sleep, talk to your doctor.
- Bloating or weight gain
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer overwhelmingly report unexplained bloating that started quite suddenly and continued intermittently for a long period of time.
- Feeling full and unable to eat
This is another clue about ovarian cancer; women say they have no appetite and cannot eat, even if they have not eaten for some time.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
Pelvic and abdominal pain and cramping may be accompanied by swelling, which is often a sign of ovarian cancer. Leukemia can also cause abdominal pain due to an enlarged spleen.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stool.
This is a common finding in the diagnosis of colon cancer. Blood in the toilet itself is a reason to call the doctor and order a colonoscopy.
- Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss is an early sign of colon and other gastrointestinal cancers; it is also a sign of cancer that has spread to the liver and is affecting your appetite and your body’s ability to get rid of waste.
- Indigestion or stomachache
Abdominal cramps or frequent indigestion may indicate colon cancer.
- Red, inflamed or swollen breasts.
These symptoms may indicate inflammatory breast cancer. Call your doctor about any unexplained breast changes.
- Changes in nipples
One of the most common changes that women remember noticing before being diagnosed with breast cancer is a nipple that appears flattened, inverted, or turned sideways.
- Unusually heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods
Many women report it as a precursor to endometrial or uterine cancer. Ask for a transvaginal ultrasound if you suspect anything other than normal heavy periods.
- Swelling of facial features
Some lung cancer patients report puffiness, swelling, or redness of the face. Small cell lung tumors usually block blood vessels in the chest and prevent blood from flowing freely to the head and face.
- Inflammation or swelling of the skin that does not heal, turns brown or bleeds easily.
Learn about the different types of skin cancer—melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma—and be vigilant when checking your skin for any strange growths or spots all over your body.
- Nail changes
Unexplained nail changes can be a sign of several cancers. A brown or black streak or dot under the nail could indicate skin cancer, and a newly discovered “clump” — the enlargement of the fingertips with the nails down over the tips — could be a sign of lung cancer. Pale or white nails can sometimes be a sign of liver cancer.