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15 Symptoms Of Cancer You Should Not Ignore

The symptoms of cancer can be deceptive as they may seem to be normal and imitate those of other simple diseases.

15 Symptoms Of Cancer You Should Not Ignore

If you overlook some important yet subtle symptoms of cancer it can lead to late detection giving the disease time to spread and become irreversible. The symptoms of cancer can be deceptive as they tend to imitate signs and symptoms of many other casual and simple diseases. The key is to pay attention to your body and take note when somethings different. 

"One must take into account family history since some cancers like colon cancer are very hereditary hence if you have a family history of cancer then you need to be twice as careful", says Dr Gita Prakash, Senior Internal Medicine expert at Max Hospital in New Delhi. 

The following list may seem a bit scary and each of these symptoms can be tied to far less serious ailments than cancer, so do not get excessively stressed until you've been thoroughly evaluated by a professional. With a disease so serious it helps to take extra precautions when you feel skeptical of any of the following symptoms. Hence, watch out for these symptoms and consult your doctor; having these symptoms doe not necessarily mean you have cancer. 

1. Breast changes -  Breast cancer, being one of the most common cancers, has many symptoms that can be self-evaluated followed by an evaluation by your doctor. The changes may include changes in the structure of the breast, the appearance of a lump or some changes in the skin of the breast or nipple. Though not definitive proof of cancer, but these signs can sometimes indicate other issues so please consult your doctor.

2. Blood in the urine/feces - If you have discomfort digesting and notice any redness in your feces or urine, you musk seek medical attention. Blood in feces usually warrants hemorrhoids but can also mean colon cancer. Blood in urine is normally the first sign for bladder or kidney cancer.

3. Unintentional weight loss - Unintended weight loss is more of a concern than relief. Weight loss can be due to several reasons but one shouldn't completely rule out the possibility of cancer.

4. Unexplained pain - Pain is a symptom of some infinite disease but pain which is unexplained and lasts a month or longer and doesn't get better with treatment can warrant bone or other cancers. Talk to your physician if you have prolonged pain. Do not ignore the pain. 

5. Unusual and persistent fatigue - If you feel fatigued and persistent tiredness without having done much, then it may be worth looking into it. If you are eating well and have a regular sleep routine but still experiencing tiredness, do discuss this with your physician.

6. Bleeding in between periods - A bit of spotting between periods can be caused due to hormonal changes, stress, use of blood thinners and cervix inflammation. You should meet your doctor for evaluation if the spotting happens more than once.

7. Bloating in women - About 1 in 10 people experience bloating on a regular basis with women being more susceptible but if the bloating is persistent it can be worrisome. If it lasts longer than 2 weeks or is coupled with bleeding and weight loss, check for your risk of ovarian cancer.

8. Changes in testicles in men - A lump, swelling, pain or discomfort (with or without swelling) in your testicle means you must have it physically checked by your doctor. Men between the ages of 15 to 55 years must do a self-examination to look for any changes.

9. Problems while urinating in men -  As men get older, it is quite common to have an enlarged prostate. This may cause some problems when passing urine such as the urge to urinate more often or trouble starting to urinate or a weak stream. But be aware that these signs could also be of prostate cancer. Meet your urologist to evaluate.

10. Difficulty in swallowing - Sometimes there maybe swelling or dryness of the throat making it difficult to swallow - also known as dysphagia. It may sound like a small petty discomfort but this can sometimes become a cause of oral cancer - in the mouth or throat. If you any trouble taking in foods or liquids - get evaluated by your doctor.

11. Coughing - It may sound like one of the most vague symptoms but there are multiple reasons that people cough and yes, mostly they are small and temporary in nature. When a cough persists over many weeks, its then when you should be worried. If you are in pain or short of breath while coughing it could be serious. If you cough up blood, it is serious. Smoking and coughing coughing is the worst combination..

12. Heartburn -  For many people heartburn is a common struggle and acid reflux can be because of biological dispositions. If you've tried making changes in lifestyle and diet to help treat heartburn without success you should get to the bottom of the problem. It can signify cancer in the ovaries, heart and esophagus.

13. Fever - Having high fever is a regular part of nearly everybody's life at some point. There can be many reasons for discomfort due to fever but when fever doesn't go down or happens in severe conditions then you must see it as a warning bell and discuss it with your doctor.

14. Alterations in the lymph nodes - Our lymphatic system helps fight infections and absorbs all the toxic and the waste material from the entire body, excess fluids and fats. Lymph nodes tend to commonly swell in the underarms, neck and groin. Such a lymph swelling can also be a symptom of cancer.

(Dr Gita Prakash, Senior Family Physician at Max Hospital, New Delhi)

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