It is not always possible to diagnose cancer in the early stages. One of the reasons is the delay in seeking help: often people are not aware of the signs that may indicate cancer.
We list the main symptoms that should alert. In most cases, they are caused by other diseases. If any of the symptoms persist for a long time or worsen, see your doctor.
Common Symptoms of Cancer
Increased night sweats
Night sweats can be caused by various infections or certain medications. This symptom is also common in women during menopause. However, excessive sweating at night can also be a sign of cancer.
Unexplained weight loss
Sudden weight loss for no apparent reason is a signal that can indicate various diseases. In the case of oncological diseases, this symptom is most often found in cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lungs.
Unusual bump or swelling
Pay attention to bumps or swelling that have arisen for unknown reasons. If they appeared after a bruise, or impact and do not go away for a long time, it is also necessary to consult a doctor.
Pain is a protective signal of the body, which indicates that something is wrong in the body. Pain can be an early symptom of certain cancers, such as bone or testicular cancer. Headaches that become more frequent or worse over time are among the possible symptoms of brain tumors. Back pain can be a sign of colon, rectal, or ovarian cancer.
If the pain is caused by cancer, it most often means that the tumor has spread to other tissues and organs. In the process of growth, it can put pressure on nearby nerves, bones, or organs. In addition, cancer cells can release chemicals that cause pain. Also, pain provokes the reaction of the body to these substances.
Severe and progressive fatigue that does not improve with sleep and rest can indicate the spread of a tumor or be a symptom of the early stages of certain types of cancer, such as leukemia.
Local symptoms of cancer
The skin usually recovers quickly – minor injuries heal in about a week. If small wounds and sores do not go away for a long time, even if they do not hurt, you should consult a doctor.
Consult a doctor if you notice an unusual mole: it has changed color, shape, hurts, and bleeds. It can be difficult to notice the appearance of new moles or changes in existing ones. People with an increased risk of developing melanoma are advised to map their moles.
A mouth ulcer that does not heal can be a symptom of oral cancer. This should be paid special attention to people who smoke, chew tobacco, and often drink alcohol.
White patches in the mouth or on the tongue may be leukoplakia, a disease that affects the mouth and tongue. This condition is also most commonly caused by tobacco use, including smoking, chewing, and mouth-to-mouth. Without treatment, leukoplakia can develop into oral cancer.
Genital ulcers can be a sign of an infection or early-stage cancer of the vulva and penis.
Any bleeding or spotting, except menstruation, is always a sign of some kind of disorder in the body, which must be reported to the doctor. Coughing up blood can signal lung cancer, and vomiting blood can signal esophageal or stomach cancer. In colorectal cancer, blood may be passed in the stool.
Cervical or ovarian cancer can cause vaginal bleeding or unusual vaginal discharge, and breast cancer can cause bleeding from the nipple.
Changes in the area of the breast, areola, and nipple
A lump or lump in the breast can be a symptom of both early and advanced stages of cancer. If they are found, be sure to visit a doctor. Some types of breast cancer can cause redness or swell in the breast area. In rare cases, the skin on the nipple can become scaly and flaky, with eczema-like crusts that cause itching. In men, breast cancer is very rare, but they also need to see a doctor if there are unusual breast changes.
Difficulty swallowing food, heartburn, indigestion, and loss of appetite for a long time can be signs of cancer of the esophagus or stomach.
Changes in bowel or bladder function
Bowel problems (prolonged constipation, diarrhea, or a feeling of incomplete emptying) can be symptoms of colon cancer. Pain when urinating, blood in the urine or a change in the frequency of urination (too often or rarely) may be associated with bladder or prostate cancer.
Persistent cough or hoarseness
Often coughing and hoarseness occur with a cold. However, you need to be wary if they last longer than a few weeks or get worse: coughing can be a sign of lung cancer, and hoarseness can be a sign of laryngeal cancer.
Headache, seizures, changes in vision, hearing, and problems with speech and coordination can signal a brain tumor.
Scientific editor: Ekaterina Korobeynikova, oncologist-chemotherapist, graduate of the Higher School of Oncology
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