When you’re in doubt about something related to your health, your best bet is to pop down to the doctor. They’re the experts when it comes to diagnosing health problems, and you’ll usually walk out with at least some idea of what’s ailing you.
But there’s definitely something to be said for learning to recognize basic warning signs yourself. For starters, a little self-diagnosis saves you having to truck into the doctor’s office every other week. For seconds, knowing how to read the health signs may actually save your life one day.
This is very much true for many forms of cancer. Different cancers can manifest in a myriad of ways, and it’s often difficult even for doctor’s to make an accurate diagnosis at first glance. These cancers can also quickly spread if left untreated, so noting the signs and acting fast is paramount.
This is where we come in. While the information contained in this post can never be construed as the advice of a medical professional, it can certainly help you to be more aware of certain cancer signs and take action accordingly. Read on, if you value your health!
1. Shortness of breath or wheezing
If you’re having trouble breathing or finding that your breaths are coming out in gasps or wheezes, go and get checked out — this could be a sign of lung cancer.
2. Chronic coughing or chest pain
A cough that simply refuses to go away, despite colds and flu being but a distant memory, suggests a possibility of several different cancers, including leukemia and lung cancer. Chest pain that begins to spread to shoulder and arm can also indicate possible lung cancer.
3. Swollen face
Patients diagnosed with lung cancer commonly present with a swollen face, due to the fact that lung tumors block the flow of blood to the face. If you have a swollen face that refuses to go away, go and get it checked out.
4. Back pain
Back pain is commonly attributed to inflammation of the spine or local muscular issues, so it’s rare for a person to consider cancer when back pain persists. But many patients suffering from liver cancer report having back pain, as do those with breast cancer — generally due to the cancerous tumor pressing against the spine and chest.
5. Discolored nails
Less-than-perfect nails might seem like nothing to worry about, but certain types of discolorations and imperfections in nails can underlie something more sinister. Nails that lose their pink color and start to turn white may indicate liver cancer, while brown or black dots on nails can suggest skin cancer.
6. Painful or sporadic periods
Women who experience painful or erratic periods may want to get a transvaginal ultrasound, as this is sometimes a symptom of uterine cancer.
7. Regular infections and fevers
Leukemia impairs the body’s infection-fighting cells, making a person more susceptible to infections such as sore throats and bronchitis. Frequent low-grade fevers and even headaches can also imply leukemia.
8. Bruises and inability to stop bleeding
Patients suffering from leukemia often report frequent bleeding from gums and nose, and often see blood in their stools and urine. People with leukemia are also much easier to bruise, even from the slightest bumps.
9. Swollen lymph nodes
Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, neck and groin can indicate leukemia, which causes the lymph nodes to enlarge.
10. Abdominal pain
A frequently upset stomach and chronic abdominal pain may indicate colorectal cancer.
11. Lower abdominal fat
Rapid weight gain in the lower abdominal area and what appears to be bloating may be signs of ovarian cancer.
12. Swollen or sore breasts
If you have red, swollen or sore breasts, consult your doctor. Any one of these can indicate breast cancer.
13. Variations in nipple size and shape
If there’s something strange going on with your nipples, it could indicate breast cancer. Common symptoms include nipple pain, inverted nipples, red or scaly nipples, and nipple discharge other than breast milk.
14. Difficulty swallowing
Throat cancer, otherwise known as pharyngeal or laryngeal cancer, is often linked to an inability to swallow. Difficulty swallowing can also indicate lung cancer.
15. Pelvic pain
Pelvic cramps and swelling can indicate both leukemia and ovarian cancer, due to the enlargement of the spleen.
While fatigue can indicate a wide range of health problems, it’s also a common symptom of various forms of cancer.
17. Bloody stool
It’s fair to say that you know something bad is afoot when you see blood in your poop — but it could be worse than you think. Those suffering from colorectal cancer often report bloody stools, so if this is you, get it checked out ASAP.
Yellowing of the skin and eyes, otherwise known as jaundice, can indicate liver cancer.
If you start to find yourself constantly dropping things, stumbling, feeling off balance or losing control of your arms and legs, this may be a sign that a brain tumor is developing. Other common signs are problems with speaking, swallowing or controlling your facial expressions.
If you begin to lose feeling in any part of your body, including your face, consider consulting a doctor. This may indicate the development of a brain tumor, which is nothing to be ignored.
— Liivi Hess