Don’t rely only on the routine tests to protect you from cancer. It’s just as important listening to your body and noticing anything that is different, odd, or unexplainable.
Here are some signs that commonly are overlooked:
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
One of the first signs that many lung cancer patients remember noticing is the incapacity to catch their breath.
- Chronic cough or chest pain
Numerous types of cancer, including lung tumors and leukemia, can cause symptoms that mimic bad cough or bronchitis. There are some lung cancer patients who report chest pain that extends up into the shoulder or down the arm.
- Frequent fevers or infections
This can be sing of leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow. Leukemia is causing the marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, weakening your body’s infection-fighting capabilities.
- Difficulty swallowing
The trouble swallowing is most commonly associated with throat cancer or esophageal, and is sometimes one of the first signs of lung cancer, as well.
- Swollen lymph nodes or lumps on the neck, groin, or underarm
Enlarged lymph nodes indicate some changes in the lymphatic system, and that can be a sign of cancer.
- Excessive bruising or bleeding that doesn’t stop
This symptom usually suggests that something abnormal is happening with the platelets and the red blood cells, which can be a sign of leukemia. Over time, leukemia cells are crowding out the red blood cells and platelets, impairing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and clot.
- Weakness and fatigue
Generalized weakness and fatigue is a symptom of numerous different types of cancer that you should look at it in combination with other symptoms. However, any time you feel exhausted without any explanation and it doesn’t respond to getting more sleep, you should talk to your doctor.
- Bloating or abdominal weight gain
Women that are diagnosed with ovarian cancer tremendously report unexplained abdominal bloating which came on fairly suddenly and continued on and off over a long period of time.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
Pain and cramping in the pelvis and the abdomen can go together with the bloating that often signals ovarian cancer. Leukemia could also cause abdominal pain resulting from enlarged spleen.
- Feeling full and unable to eat
This is one more tip-off to ovarian cancer; women say they don’t have appetite and they can’t eat, even when they haven’t eaten for a while.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stool
This is the common result of diagnosing colorectal cancer. Blood in the stool is reason to call your doctor and to schedule a colonoscopy.
- Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss is the early sign of colon and other digestive cancers; it is also a sign of cancer that has spread to the liver, affecting the appetite and the ability of the body to rid itself of wastes.
- Stomachache or upset stomach
Stomach cramps or frequent upset stomachs could indicate colorectal cancer.
- Nipple changes
Among the most common changes that women remember noticing before being diagnosed with breast cancer is a nipple which began to appear inverted, flattened, or turned sideways.
- Red, sore, or swollen breast
These symptoms might indicate inflammatory breast cancer. You need to call your doctor about any unexplained changes to your breasts.
- Unusually heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods
Lots of women report this as a tip-off to endometrial or uterine cancer. You should ask for a transvaginal ultrasound if you suspect something more than the routine heavy periods.
- Swelling of facial features
There are some patients with lung cancer that have reported noticing puffiness, swelling, or redness in their face. Small cell lung tumors commonly block the blood vessels in the chest, preventing blood from flowing freely from your face and head.
- A sore or skin lump that doesn’t heal, bleeds easily, or becomes crusty
Familiarize yourself with the different types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma – and be vigilant about checking the skin all over your body for odd-looking growths or spots.
- Changes in the nails
Unexplained changes to the fingernails could be a sign of several types of cancer. A brown or black streak or dot under the nail might indicate the skin cancer, while the newly discovered “clubbing”- enlargement of the ends of the fingers with nails that curve down over the tips – could be a sign of lung cancer. Pale or white nails might sometimes be a sign of liver cancer.
- Pain in the back or lower right side
Lots of cancer patients say that this was the first sign of liver cancer. Breast cancer is also very often diagnosed with back pain, which can happen when a breast tumor is presses backward into the chest, or when the cancer spreads to the spine or the ribs.
Whether you are a woman or a man, it is important to watch for any unusual changes inside your body and energy levels so as to detect any signs of cancer early on. The sooner you notice there is some problem, the sooner you can start to take the steps that are necessary to promote healing within your body.
Of course, it would be perfect to follow an anti-cancer lifestyle even before you notice any symptoms, because prevention is the best route when it comes to many chronic diseases. It is not unusual for ten or more years to pass between exposure to a cancer-causing agent (chemicals, tobacco, poor nutrition, radiation, cell phones, etc.) and detectable cancer.