The American Cancer Society estimates that so far in 2014, approximately 1.6 million new cases of cancer have been diagnosed in the US and nearly 600 thousand people have lost their lives to the disease. A late detection from overlooking symptoms can give the disease time to spread and become an irreversible burden. The symptoms are deceptive in the fact that they can be seemingly normal happenings. The following symptoms are inherently mundane things that you should pay attention to and consider looking into with a physician if they persist.
1. Bleeding In Between Periods (women only)
A bit of spotting in the gap of time where you aren’t normally having a period can be caused by a change in hormone levels, cervix inflammation, stress and blood thinners. It’s good to have a physician check for the likeliness of endometrial cancer in the uterus if the spotting happens more than once.
2. Bloating (women only)
About one in every ten people in the US experience bloating on a regular basis, and women are particularly susceptible to it. It’s a common ailment of dietary trends, indigestion, premenstrual syndrome and pregnancy, but a persistent bloating may be subject to concern. If your bloating lasts longer than two weeks or is paired with bleeding and weight loss, check with your doctor for your risk of ovarian cancer. You can find more details in my article about 8 early warning signs of ovarian cancer you shouldn’t ignore.
3. Changes in Your Testicles (men only)
If you notice a lump, swelling, pain or discomfort, with or without swelling or any other change in your testicle, go to see your doctor as it may indicate testicular cancer which can grow quite fast. Some doctors recommend that men ages 15 to 55 perform a monthly self-examination to identify any changes.
4. Problems When You Pee (men only)
Having an enlarged prostate gland is common among men as they get older and can cause some problems when peeing, such as the urge to pee more often, especially at night or trouble starting to pee or having a weak stream. But these can also be symptoms of prostate cancer. Visit your doctor to check the cause of the problem.
5. Breast changes
Breast cancer is one of the most common form of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. There are several evident signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist, such as change in breast structure, appearance of lumps or changes in the skin or nipple. It is important to remember that these signs aren’t definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity. But there are also sneakier breast cancer indicators that many people overlook which you can read in my article about 5 unconventional signs of breast cancer.
6. Blood in Urine or Faeces
Healthy digestion is important for a healthy life. If you’re uncomfortable during digestion and notice any redness in feces or urine, you should immediately seek medical attention. This is typically an indicator of onset colon or kidney cancer. Find more information in my article about 10 warning signs of bowel (colorectal) cancer.
7. Mole Changes
Skin cancer is the most common form in the United States, with about one in every five Americans developing it sometime in their life. Women have been notably susceptible to several types of skin cancer, including the deadly melanoma. One of the most common indicators of onset skin cancer is the change in or appearance of moles. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using the ABDCE method of evaluating moles: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. You can find more details in my article about warning signs of melanoma.
8. Sudden Weight Loss Without Effort
We know this symptom seems like a godsend to some, considering the rising desire to become a skinny nation. But if you experience significant weight loss without any change in diet or physical exertion, you should be more concerned than relieved. There are again many different explanations for this, but a person shouldn’t rule out the possibility of pancreatic, lung or stomach cancer.
9. Ongoing Unexplained Pain
Pain can be a result of numerous conditions, but ongoing pain which is unexplained and lasts a month or longer can signal bone, brain, or other cancers. Ask your doctor about any suspicious prolonged and unexplained pain.
10. Unusual and Persistent Fatigue
It’s completely normal to feel worn down in a busy millennial society. But what about when you haven’t really done much with your day, and you still experience a persistent tiredness? If you have a reasonable diet and sleep routine and still experiences tiredness, you should consider the root of the problem and discuss it with a physician.
11. Difficulty Swallowing
Now and then people experience a swelling or dryness of the throat that makes it difficult to swallow, otherwise known as dysphagia. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience to some, it is also sometimes caused by cancer in the mouth, throat or esophagus. If you have trouble ingesting foods or liquids, especially if it’s a regular occurrence, you should be evaluated by a medical professional.
This is probably one of the most mundane and diverse symptoms on the list. There are a ton of different reasons that people cough, and more often than not they are trivial and temporary in nature. It’s when the cough persists over the course of weeks that someone should voice concern. If you find yourself in pain or short of breath during the cough it could be serious. If you cough up blood, it is serious. Smokers should pay particular attention to coughing, as it’s the most typical sign of lung cancer.
For avid coffee drinkers and connoisseurs of spicy food, heartburn may be an all too familiar struggle. Other people struggle with acid reflux because of biological dispositions. But if you’ve tried to alleviate your heartburn with an altered routine and saw no results, you should locate the root of the problem. Heartburn can be an indicator of cancer in the ovaries, heart and esophagus. Studies show that persistent heartburn may actually raise your odds of throat cancer, so immediate attention is required.
Exhibiting a high temperature is a regular part of nearly everybody’s life at some point. Like many of the symptoms listed above, there could be multiple explanations for discomfort brought on by a fever. It’s when the fever refuses to go away or happens in severe conditions that you should voice concern. There are many different types of cancers that are foreshadowed with longstanding fever.
15. Changes in Lymph Nodes
The lymphatic system plays an important role in fighting infections and absorbing excess fluids, fats, and toxic waste material from your entire body. Some areas where lymph nodes commonly swell are in the neck, groin, and underarms. While common infections can cause lymph swelling, some cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, can also cause this symptom.
Always see a Doctor before you get Worried. This list may seem a bit scary, but there’s no need to worry right off the bat. Each of these symptoms can be tied to far less serious ailments than cancer, so don’t stress yourself out until you’ve been thoroughly evaluated by a professional. With a disease so serious it helps to take the extra precautions when you feel skeptical of an above-mentioned symptom.
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.