Cancer can kill anyone, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich and famous, or the lowest of the low. Once you have it, you’re a dead man walking. However, the risk can be averted if it can be detected as early as possible, but sadly, most of us disregards these ‘red flag’ symptoms until it is too late.
It may sound like overreacting, but no! Experts have revealed 10 red flag symptoms that may mean you have cancer. Check out below
1. Persistent cough – Lung Cancer
Apparently, most lung cancers do not cause any kind of symptoms until they have spread too much to be cured. But, signs do occur in other people in the early stages of lung cancer. A persistent cough that does not go away, or changes in a chronic cough or ‘smoker’s cough’ can be an early indication of the disease. Chest pain related to coughing, deep breathing or laughing as well as hoarseness and coughing up blood are early warning signs.
2. Change in the appearance of a mole – Skin Cancer
Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, it can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly seen on the back, legs, arms and face and even underneath a nail. Despite being rare, they often spread to other organs in the body, making them more deadly. And the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole is the most common sign .
Signs to look out for include a mole that is:
- Getting bigger
- Changing shape
- Changing color
- Bleeding or becoming crusty
- Itchy or painful
A helpful way to tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma is the ‘ABCDE’ checklist:
Asymmetrical – melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape.
Border – melanomas have a notched or ragged border.
Colors – melanomas will be a mix of two or more colors.
Diameter – melanomas are often larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.
3. Persistent change in bowel habits – Bowel Cancer
There are three main indications of bowel cancer and they are blood in the stools or feces, a change in bowel habit, such as going more frequently, or having looser stools, and abdominal pain. Patients with the disease are mostly over the age of 60, and they will present to their doctor with one of the following symptom combinations:
- A persistent change in bowel habit, causing a person to go to the toilet more often and pass looser stools, together with blood on or in the stools
- A persistent change in bowel habit without blood in their stools, but with abdominal pain
- Blood in the stools without other hemorrhoid symptoms, such as soreness, discomfort, pain, itching, or a lump hanging down outside the rectum
- Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always provoked by eating, and sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount eaten and weight loss
4. Sore that doesn’t heal – Many Types of Cancer
According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a sore or ulcer in the mouth that fails to heal is the most common symptoms of mouth cancer, the persistent pain in the mouth can also be a sign.Cancer Research UK expert says, a person should seek advice from a doctor if a spot, wart, or sore in any part of the body doesn’t heal after several weeks, even if it is painless. The skin repairs itself very quickly and any damage should typically heal within a week or so.
5. Persistent difficulty in swallowing – Oesophageal Cancer
Difficulty in swallowing can be attributed in numbers of medical conditions, however, if the difficulty in swallowing persists after a couple of weeks, you need to see a doctor. Weight loss can also indicate the disease is present.
6. Unexplained weight loss – A Number of Cancers
Most cancer patients will lose weight at some point, but losing weight for no reason needs to be checked out. According to the American Cancer Society, an unexplained weight loss like 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancer. It is mostly related to cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus (swallowing tube), or lung.
7. Persistent change in bladder habits – Bladder or Prostate Cancer
Urinating problems include needing to pee urgently, more frequently, being unable to go when you need to, or experiencing pain. Though these symptoms may be caused by other conditions than cancer, it is vital to let your doctors know about it.
A slow or weak urinary stream, or the need to urinate more often, especially at night, can indicate prostate cancer specifically. Blood in the urine is also a sign of prostate cancer.
On the other hand, bladder cancer may also cause changes in urination, including having to urinate more often, pain or burning during urination and feeling as if you need to go right away, even if the bladder is not full. However, these symptoms can also be caused by a benign condition such as infection, bladder stones, an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate (in men). It is important to seek a doctor’s help so that the cause can be found and treated.
8. Unexplained lump – Many Types of Cancer
A lump or thickening of tissue can be an early sign of the disease, but it can also indicate some forms of the disease. Most of the known cancers are discovered trough lumps, like in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes and soft tissues of the body. If ever you found a lump or noticed a lump has grown in size, consult a doctor asap.
9. Persistent and unexplained pain – Many Types of Cancer
Pain is a normal body reaction, but pain that doesn’t go away even with a treatment can present as an early stage of a number of cancers, especially with bone and testicular cancers. A terrible headache that persist even with treatment can be a sign of a brain tumor, while back pain can indicate cancer of the colon, rectum, or ovary. Unfortunately, in most cases where pain is felt and cancer is diagnosed, it is an indication that the disease has already spread from its primary location in the body.
10. Unexplained bleeding – Many Types of Cancer, Namely Bowel, Cervical or Vulval Cancer
Unexplained bleeding can occur in both early and late stages of the disease, such as coughing up blood can be a sign of lung cancer, while blood in the stool is an indication of colon or rectal cancer. Cancer of the cervix or the endometrium – the lining of the uterus – can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. Blood in the urine can indicate a person is suffering bladder, kidney or prostate cancer. And a bloody discharge from the nipple may be a sign of breast cancer.