National Cancer Awareness Day: 10 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

National Cancer Awareness Day: 10 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Be it frequent washroom runs, nagging body aches or recent unusual skin changes, many of us have started avoiding doctor visits in an effort to stay safe from the spreading coronavirus. But, timely screening and early detection is the first step to starting the treatment and healing faster. This National Cancer Awareness Day, know more about the cancer symptoms you should pay close attention to:

1. Changes in your bathroom habits 
Have you started feeling a sudden urge to use the washroom? And is it followed by painful bowel movements, black or tarry stool, blood in urine? Well, it’s time you consult a doctor. Changes in bowel movements including persistent diarrhea or constipation could be an indication of colon, prostate or bladder cancer. 

2. Changes in the breast 
Sudden changes in the breast, be it dimpling, developing a lump, discolouration or unusual discharge from the nipple, calls for immediate medical attention. This could be the first sign of breast cancer and self-examination is the right way to be aware of any bodily changes. While it is usually diagnosed in women, men can develop it too.  

3. Indigestion and difficulty in swallowing 
A lot of times persistent burning sensation in the throat and chest is ignored and rendered a result of eating spicy food. Well, if it is happening often followed by difficulty in swallowing, this could be a sign of throat, lung or stomach cancer. 

4. Persistent cough and voice hoarseness 
In most cases cough gets better and heals within a few days or weeks, but it’s important to consult a doctor for detailed assessment of lung cancer if it lasts for a long time with symptoms including chest pain or coughing up blood. Persistent hoarseness, wheezing, shortness of breath are some other signs that need immediate medical attention. 

5. Unexplained weight loss 
If you have experienced a sudden loss in weight without any changes in your exercise habits or diet, it’s time to consult a doctor. Loss of 10 pounds or more can be a sign of pancreatic, stomach, esophageal or lung cancer. While it might be nothing to worry about, timely screening can help in early detection of health issues. 

6. Recurrence of fever and infections 
While fever is a common symptom of cold and flu that gets better in a few days, if it spikes again and again accompanied by infections, make sure you consult a doctor. 

7. Excessive bruising and skin changes 
If you observe a shift in appearance of moles, birthmarks as well as excessive bruises at unusual places, it could be a sign that needs immediate attention. Other signs of developing cancer includes warts, moles, freckles as well as changes in colour, shape and size. 

8. Unusual lumps 
Any new lump in the breast, testicles, lymph nodes and soft tissues, like tendons and ligaments shouldn’t go unevaluated. It could be the first sign of cancer and needs immediate medical attention. 

9. Chronic pain and headaches 
Headache is a symptom that can be caused by multitude of things, but it could be a sign of chronic ailments if it has become recurrent. Adding to it, if you experience constant headaches for longer durations as well as persistent pain in the body that doesn’t get well with medications and standard treatments, it’s time to get a thorough assessment. 

10. Oral changes 
People who smoke or chew tobacco should keep a tab on the changes inside their mouth. Sores, lesions or white patches inside the mouth could be the first sign of an untreated cancer. If you experience any of the aforementioned changes as well as unexplained bleeding, tenderness and numbness, it’s time to go for a check up. 

By: Navreet Kaur | on 2020-11-09

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