SYMPTOMS OF CANCER
SYMPTOMS OF CANCER:
Firstly, let’s understand what cancer is. Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. One important difference to know is, cancer contrasts with benign tumors, which do not spread.
Let’s know where in the body, cancer can spread.
Where in the body cancer can spread? What is the origin?
Cancer can spread to almost every part of the body. Some types of cancer tend to spread to certain parts of the body. For example:
- Breast cancer spreads to bones, liver, lungs, chest wall, and brain
- Lung cancer spreads to brain, bones, liver, and adrenal glands
- Prostate cancer tends to spread to the bones
- Colon and rectal cancers tend to spread to the liver and lungs
Having understood what cancer is and its origin, now it’s high time that we should be aware of the symptoms and warning signs of cancer.
Because, how much sooner we know determines how better we can cure.
Critical symptoms that are crucial to know:
Cancer, mostly, has no specific symptoms, so it is important that people limit their risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. Most cancer screening is specifically targeted to certain age groups. Your primary care doctor will know what screening to perform depending on your age.
Persistent cough may usually represent simple infections such as bronchitis or sinusitis. But when it lasts for more than a month or two, then it is very crucial to have it checked with the doctor. It could be symptom of lung cancer or head and neck cancer. Anyone with a nagging cough that persists more than a month should see a doctor. Blood-tinged saliva while coughing or spitting is to be taken more seriously.
Changes in bowel habits:
Most changes in bowel habits are related to your diet and fluid intake. Doctors sometimes see pencil-thin stools with colon cancer. Occasionally, cancer hints with continuous diarrhea. There are chances for people with cancer feel as if they need to have a bowel movement or have had a bowel movement. If any of these abnormal bowel complaints last more than a few days, requirement of evaluation is necessary. Any significant change in bowel habits that cannot be easily explained by dietary changes could be cancer-related and needs to be evaluated.
Blood in the stool:
Understanding the meaning of Blood in the stool, a bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract. It may be visible on toilet tissue or in the toilet after a bowel movement, as bright red blood. Bleeding that is higher up in the digestive tract may make stool appear black and tarry. Cause of this is hemorrhoids that frequently cause rectal bleeding. But because hemorrhoids are so common, they may exist with cancer.
Therefore, even when you have hemorrhoids, you should have a doctor examine your entire intestinal tract when you have blood in your bowel movements.
Unexplained anemia (low blood count):
Anemia is a condition in which people have fewer than the “SHOULD BE” / necessary number of red blood cells in their blood. Anemia should always be investigated. There are many kinds of anemia, but blood loss almost always causes iron deficiency anemia. Unless there is an obvious source of ongoing blood loss, this anemia needs to be explained.
Many cancers can cause anemia, but bowel cancers most commonly cause iron deficiency anemia. Evaluation should include endoscopy or X-ray studies of your upper and lower intestinal tracts.
Breast lump or breast discharge:
Most breast lumps are non-cancerous tumors such as fibro-adenomas or cysts. But all breast lumps need to be thoroughly investigated for the possibility of breast cancer. A negative Mammogram result is not usually sufficient to evaluate a breast lump. Your doctor needs to determine the appropriate X-ray study which might include an MRI or an ultrasound of the breast.
Discharge from a breast is common, but some forms of discharge may be signs of cancer. If discharge is bloody or from only one nipple, further evaluation is recommended. Women are advised to conduct monthly breast self-examinations.
Lumps in the testicles:
Most men (90%) with cancer of the testicle have a painless or uncomfortable lump/swelling on a testicle. Some men have an enlarged testicle. Other conditions, such as infections and swollen veins, can also cause changes in your testicles, but any lump should be evaluated. Men are advised to conduct monthly testicular self-examinations.
Changes in urination:
Urinary symptoms can include frequent urination, small amounts of urine, and slow urine flow or a general change in bladder function. These symptoms can be caused by urinary infections (usually in women) or, in men, by an enlarged prostate gland. Most men will suffer from harmless prostate enlargement as they age and will often have these urinary symptoms. These symptoms may also signal prostate cancer. Cancer of the bladder and pelvic tumors can also cause irritation of the bladder and urinary frequency.
These are the common symptoms everyone should be aware of. The unhealthy food habits, stressful work culture, etc… prevailing with the younger generation, are more prone to Cancerous diseases. Hence, understanding the symptoms and doing self-examinations are essential.
Be Healthy! Stay Healthy! Shanmuga Hospital is always at your service!