World Cancer Day has been designated February 4 with the aim of raising awareness and improving education about cancer and its symptoms.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer and each type has different symptoms. However, there are some general symptoms that can occur with most cancers. It’s impossible to know all the signs and symptoms of each type of cancer overnight, but understanding the general signs can save lives.
Express reveals the 12 most common cancer symptoms, according to Cancer Research UK:
– Unexplained pain or soreness
Pain is one way our bodies tell us something is wrong. As we get older, it’s more common to feel aches and pains.
However, unexplained pain can be a sign of something more serious, such as severe night sweats.
Sweating at night can be caused by infections, or it can be a side effect of certain medications.
Women often experience it around the time of menopause, but very heavy night sweats can also be a sign of cancer.
– Unexplained weight loss
Minor weight changes over time are perfectly normal, but if you lose a significant amount of weight without trying it, tell your doctor.
– Unusual bump or swelling anywhere
Lumps or persistent swelling in any part of your body should be taken seriously.
This includes any lumps in the neck, armpit, stomach, thigh, chest, breast or testicle.
There are many reasons why you feel more tired than usual, especially if you are going through a stressful event or having trouble sleeping.
But if you’re feeling tired for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of something wrong — talk to your doctor.
– Changes in the skin
The skin repairs itself very quickly and usually heals any damage within a week or so. When a spot, wart or ulcer does not heal, even if it is painless, your doctor needs to examine it.
Most moles are also harmless. But be aware of any new moles or existing moles that change in size, shape or color, become crusty or hurt or bleed.
Your doctor should check for any unusual change in a patch of skin or nail, whether it’s a new one or has been around for a while.
– Affected sound and breathing
Having an annoying sound or feeling rough can be common with the common cold. But the annoying sound that didn’t go away on its own should be checked. Coughing is common with colds and some other health conditions, but if unexplained cough doesn’t go away within a few weeks or get worse, it could be a sign of cancer.
It’s not unlikely to feel short of breath every now and then (especially when you’re active), but if you notice that you’re feeling more short of breath than usual or more often, tell your doctor.
– Eating problems
Any symptoms you experience that affect your food can be cancerous.
Some medical conditions, including some cancers, may make swallowing difficult. Talk to your doctor if you have difficulty swallowing and the problem doesn’t go away.
It is normal to feel discomfort or slight pain sometimes after eating a large, greasy or hot meal.
But if you have intestinal acidity, acid reflux or indigestion too much, or if it’s particularly painful, see your doctor.
Anorexia is another sign of cancer. Talk to your doctor if you notice that you’re not hungry as usual and the condition hasn’t improved.
– Changes in stool or urine
Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation, loose stools or defecation are often more or less frequently, due to diet or lifestyle changes.
However, if you have problems urinating, if there is blood in your urine or feces, or you can’t understand why you’re experiencing the changes, consult your doctor.
All of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer, but it’s best to check them out.
This includes blood in feces, urine, vomiting, or a blood-accompanied cough – regardless of how much or color the blood (it can be red or darker like brown or black).
It also includes any unexplained vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, after intercourse or after menopause.
– An oral ulcer that does not heal
It’s common to get ulcers (small ulcers) in the mouth – usually getting better in about two weeks.
You should report to your doctor or dentist about ulcers, red or white spot that don’t heal after three weeks.
– Continuous puff
It is very common to feel flatulence that comes and disappears from time to time.
However, if you feel bloated most days (even if it comes and goes), talk to your doctor as this may be a symptom of cancer.
– Unusual breast changes
Changes in the size, shape or texture of the breast, or any skin changes, redness or pain in the breast should be sought.
Breast cancer is more common in women, but whatever your gender it’s important to tell your doctor about any unusual changes in the breast.
– Unexplained bleeding or blood
The cause of unexplained bleeding is often much less serious than cancer, but you should always tell your doctor to get to the heart of the problem.