7 Warning Signs of Cancer

7 warning signs of cancer: Many people have no symptoms at all when they first come to know that they have been diagnosed with cancer. Which means, on many occasions’ cancer diagnosis comes as a surprising – rather a chance event for many. There are several incidences wherein cancer got detected in people who went for their routine health check-ups – which were not specifically ordered for diagnosing cancer. Which means cancer diagnosis, on many occasions, is a chance event. There are certain types of cancers both in men and women that manifest rather surprisingly. Several others too come with some common signs and symptoms which many people tend to ignore assuming those to be due to some less serious health conditions. Many people tend to ignore certain cancer signs by simply assuming that they are not due to cancer or may be due to something less serious.

Let us try to understand how to bring such subtle and common signs to our notice and approach a specialist in time to detect any type of cancer as early as possible.

Blood in Urine or Stool

Blood in urine, streaks of blood or blood droplets in urine are indicative of some issues with your urinary tract – It could be a kidney problem or bacterial infection – such as E. coli. Kidney stones, urinary tract infections, prostate issues in men can cause blood to appear in the urine. But blood in urine may also be due to kidney or bladder cancer. Similarly, haemorrhoids can also be the cause for blood in stools – and even colon cancer could also be the cause for blood in the stool.

Unusual Bleeding

Abnormal bleeding in women is worrisome. This type of bleeding is not regular due to periods. Which means it is unrelated to menstrual bleeding. Women must take a serious note if they experience this type of bleeding. In general, it could be due to menstrual abnormalities, hormonal changes, uterine problems, endometriosis or uterine fibroids. However, abnormal bleeding is also a sign of ovarian, uterine, cervical and vaginal cancers. The common symptoms include heavy bleeding in between periods and also bleeding after sex.

In addition to heavy bleeding, abdominal discomfort, lower abdominal pain and weakness are the other signs of ovarian cancer. If you experience all or any of these symptoms, you must see your lady oncologist to rule out any serious health issue. Bleeding after menopause also warrants a visit to the gynaecologist for a thorough medical examination.

Fever

Fever with a known cause is not a matter of concern. Usually, fever is due to bacterial, viral or allergic reactions. The human body has a natural defence mechanism of fighting inflammation and infections – fever is one such. Without a known cause, it is a matter of concern. Sometimes, fever persists for long; comes and go intermittently; repeats in episodes. The worry is when fever persists for long without any known cause. If this is the case, then you should see your doctor to rule out the underlying cause. Prolong and repeated fever episodes are indications of cancer.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Fever indicates inflammation and infection in the body so are swollen lymph nodes. A general physician checks your lymph nodes to see whether they are swollen or do they indicate any infection. Lymph nodes are located in the neck, armpits and other parts of the body. Immune cells in the lymph nodes fight infection and cause swollen lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes indicate bacterial or viral infections. Swollen lymph nodes with persistent fever may also indicate cancer. Therefore, if you notice such signs and symptoms, it is better to consult a doctor who specializes in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Weight Loss

Healthy body weight is appropriate to a person’s height and it is a sign of good overall health and well-being. It is normal to lose weight by adopting healthy weight loss measures – such as diet and exercise. It is even normal if a person loses weight by changing their eating habits. Thyroid problems, persistent stress and depression can also lead to weight loss. Diabetes may also lead to weight loss. Any sudden weight loss without trying any lifestyle measures is a cause for concern -those who experience it should meet their doctor as early as possible as it could be an early warning sign of cancer.

 Indigestion or Heartburn

Tummy upset is relatively a common word. Even bloating, acid reflux, bloating, heartburn and indigestion look pretty common stomach issues. These problems are mostly related to unhealthy eating habits, stress, smoking and alcohol consumption. Heartburn and indigestion are usually due to changes in diet, sleeping habits and stress – but when this problem persists for long – it may indicate a serious life-threatening cancer. For instance, indigestion, lower abdominal pain, bloating and a feeling of burning sensation in the chest after having food is a sign of ovarian cancer in women.

Fatigue

General weakness may be due to several reasons including overexertion, sleep deprivation, travelling long distances, hangovers, skipping meals and suddenly working too hard. Even flu and cold viral infections, fever and dehydration too can make you weak. All these are the less serious causes of fatigue. However, persistent fatigue can indicate serious health issues including cancer – stomach, colon, ovarian and lung cancers and can make a person very weak and tired. These are the 7 warning signs of cancer.

Bottom Line 

There are many other signs of cancer – in addition to the above 7 warning signs of cancer. If you have any concerns regarding other mesmerizingly surprising cancer signs and symptoms – and don’t have any clue regarding how to take up the problem and approach a specialist doctor, then fix an appointment with a specialist doctor.

Dr Geetha Nagasree has more than 16 years of experience in surgical oncology. Being an experienced surgical oncologist in Hyderabad, she treats all types of gynaecological cancers including cervical, uterine, ovarian and breast cancers.