Key cancer warning signs you should never ignore
Cancer awareness has never been easy. Campaigns for cancer awareness, early detection and treatment play a key role in increasing the survival rate of the cancer patients.
However, not everyone in our societies know when and how to detect cancer at the earliest stage or deciding when to see a doctor for initial check-ups and treatment.
Here are the warning signs which when noticed, should NEVER be ignored.
1. Unusual vaginal bleeding: For women, unusual vaginal bleeding—if not associated with periods—could be caused by fibroids or even some methods of birth control.
But in case of bleeding between your periods, after sexual intercourse, or upon seeing a bloody discharge, a doctor must be notified immediately. The doctor may want to rule out cancer of the uterus, cervix or of the vagina. Be sure to let the doctor know if you are bleeding after menopause. That’s not normal and should be checked right away.
2. Trouble swallowing: It can also be a sign of a cancer in your throat or the food pipe between your mouth and stomach, called the oesophagus. Your doctor will examine the throat and some tests such as barium-x-ray.
3. Testicle changes: If you notice a lump or swelling in your testicles, you need to see a doctor right away. A painless lump is the most common sign of a testicular cancer. Your doctor will do a physical exam of the area and may use an ultrasound scan to see if there is a tumour or another problem.
4. Nagging cough: This can be a sign of cancer too. However, if you dont smoke, there is a little chance that the nagging cough is a sign of cancer. The cough may have been caused by asthma, acid reflux, or an infection. But if yours doesn’t go away, or you cough blood especially if you are smoker, see your doctor.
5. Skin changes: A new spot on your skin or one that changes in size, shape or colour could be a sign of a skin cancer. Another is a spot that doesn’t look the same as all the others on your body. If you have unusual marks, have your doctor check your skin.
6. Bloating: You may have a full, bloated feeling because of your diet or even stress. But if it doesn’t get better, or you also have fatigue, weight loss or back pain, have it checked out. Constant bloating in women may be a sign of ovarian cancer. Your doctor can do a pelvic examination and identify the cause.
7. Problems when you pee: Many men have urinary problems when they get older, the urine frequency increases and leaks or weak stream of urine may be noticed.
Usually, these are signs of the enlarged prostate, but they could also mean prostate cancer. See your doctor for an exam and a special blood test could be done, such as a PSA test.
8. Mouth issues: From bad breath to canker sores, most changes in your mouth are not serious. But if you have white or red patches or sores in your mouth that don’t heal after a couple of weeks, especially if you smoke, see your doctor. It may be a sign of oral cancer. Other things to look for: a lump in your cheek, trouble moving your jaw, or mouth pain.
9. Swollen lymph nodes: When these small bean-shaped glands often found in neck and armpit areas are swollen, it often means you are fighting an infection like a cold or step throat. Cancers like lymphoma and leukemia, can also cause this kind of swelling.