Cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for approximately 1 in 6 deaths. While some cancers can be detected early and treated effectively, others may go unnoticed until they have spread and become more difficult to treat. In this article, we will explore 10 warning signs of cancer that you should not ignore.
1. Unexplained weight loss
Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be a sign of several types of cancer, including lung, pancreatic, and stomach cancer. This weight loss may be due to the body’s immune system fighting the cancer, or the cancer cells using up energy in the body.
Fatigue is a common symptom of cancer, particularly in the early stages. If you are feeling excessively tired and have no explanation for it, such as lack of sleep or overexertion, it may be a sign of cancer. Fatigue can also be a side effect of cancer treatment.
3. Persistent cough
A persistent cough that does not go away after several weeks may be a sign of lung cancer. This cough may also be accompanied by blood in the phlegm, chest pain, and wheezing.
4. Changes in bowel or bladder habits
Changes in bowel or bladder habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or blood in the stool, may be a sign of colon, rectal, or bladder cancer. These changes may be due to the cancer blocking or narrowing the intestines or bladder.
5. Difficulty swallowing
Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia, may be a sign of esophageal cancer. This may be due to the cancer narrowing or blocking the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow food or liquids.
6. Skin changes
Changes in the skin, such as the appearance of new moles, changes in the shape or color of existing moles, or sores that do not heal, may be a sign of skin cancer. It is important to monitor your skin for any changes and to see a dermatologist for regular skin exams.
7. Persistent pain
Persistent pain, such as headaches, back pain, or abdominal pain, may be a sign of cancer. The pain may be caused by the cancer itself or by the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
8. Lumps or bumps
Lumps or bumps that do not go away, or that continue to grow, may be a sign of cancer. These lumps may be found in the breast, testicles, lymph nodes, or other parts of the body.
9. Changes in menstrual cycle
Changes in menstrual cycle, such as heavier or irregular periods, may be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer. These changes may be due to the cancer affecting the hormone levels in the body.
10. Hoarseness or difficulty speaking
Hoarseness or difficulty speaking may be a sign of laryngeal or throat cancer. This may be due to the cancer affecting the vocal cords or other parts of the throat.
It is important to note that these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer, and not all cases of cancer present with these symptoms. However, if you are experiencing any of these warning signs, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an evaluation. Early detection and treatment of cancer can improve your chances of survival and reduce the severity of the disease.
In addition to being aware of these warning signs, it is important to take steps to reduce your risk of developing cancer. This includes maintaining a healthy diet and weight, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, practicing safe sex, and getting regular cancer screenings as recommended by your healthcare provider.