Our hectic pace of life and unhealthy eating habits have increased the risk of different types of diseases, notably that of cancer. Researchers are of the opinion that before the onset of cancer, the body displays many signs and symptoms which people usually ignore or even not recognize at all. While there is no need to get unduly worried about every little thing, it is nonetheless prudent to not ignore chronic illnesses and report them to your healthcare practitioner.
Here is a lowdown on the common signs and symptoms that people usually ignore, which may at times be indicative of a bigger problem
- Upset stomach: This is a very common problem, usually benign and most often ignored or soothed with over the counter medication. However, it could at times be a symptom of a larger problem. Frequent stomach cramps and stomach upset may be an indication of colorectal cancer. It may seem like an ulcer, but may later turn out to be more serious.
- Excessive weight loss: Most people would be delighted to lose weight without making any effort, however excessive rapid weight loss is one of the most common signs of cancer. If you have lost significant weight for no reason, consult a doctor.
- Frequent infections and fever: This could be an indication of leukemia. Leukemia causes the marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells which repress the infection fighting capabilities of the body. Doctors usually diagnose leukemia only after the patient complains about frequent bouts of fever and infections.
- Bloating: For many women, bloating is common during menstruation, breast feeding etc. However if the bloating is persistent, medical intervention is called for. It is especially worrisome if the bloating is accompanied by other problems such as urinary tract infection and pelvic pain.
- Shortness of breath and wheezing: These are the first indications of lung cancer and are often dismissed as asthma. If a breathing problem persists for a long time, it is important to visit a doctor.
- Bleeding: Many women suffer from bleeding or spotting in between periods. Menopausal women can experience unusual bleeding. Don’t ignore this because it could be an indication of colorectal, uterine or endometrial cancer. If you spot blood in the urine or stools, do not hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.
- Changes in skin: Changes in the texture and color of skin are often chalked up to lack of skincare, exposure to pollution or stress. If you spot changes in skin such as discoloration, scaling, bleeding, formation of new moles or excessive pigmentation, it can be an indication of skin cancer.
- Changes in Fingernails: If you find any unexplained changes in your fingernails or the nail bed, it could be a sign of cancer. A brown/black dot or streak below the nail indicates skin cancer while newly formed ‘clubbing’ could point to lung cancer. Clubbing refers to the enlargement of the ends of the finger with nails that curve over the tip. Furthermore, discolored and pale nails signify that the there is a problem in liver function, and therefore can be a sign of liver cancer.
- Constant heartburn: Many people suffer from frequent episodes of heartburn. For some people, eating even small quantities of food can trigger heartburn. There may also be constant pain in the chest. These are worrisome signs and must not be ignored. The heartburn may usually subside after taking antacids, so most people usually ignore it thinking that it could just be an acidic stomach. But if you have frequent abdominal pain, frequent episodes of acidic stomach and a general feeling of fullness even after consuming small portions of food, it is important to visit your doctor.
- Fatigue: Some people complain of weakness or fatigue while at work, and they have to take frequent breaks. Although weakness and fatigue are commonly associated with many kinds of illnesses, persistent fatigue could be a symptom of cancer. If you frequently feel exhausted without any reason, it is best to consult your healthcare practitioner.
- Lymph enlargement: Lymph node enlargements are a tell-tale sign of breast cancer. If you find swollen lymph nodes under the armpit or at the back of the neck, do not hesitate to consult your doctor immediately.
- Aches and pains in the groin: If you have persistent pain in the thigh, groin and the hips area, it may be a sign of prostate cancer in men. Along with these signs, prostate cancer patients also experience aches in the lower abdomen.
The above signs and symptoms may often be nothing more than what it seems to be, however it pays to be cautious and proactive about your health. If any of your family members have had cancer, you may be at a higher risk for contracting the disease. Persistent symptoms must not be ignored and must be reported to your primary physician immediately.
Author Bio: Michelle Tyler is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease. Learn more: http://www.empowereddoctor.com/8117/cancer-treatment-centers-america/