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  • Writer's pictureByon8 Team

Common cancer symptoms you should know

Cancer can cause many symptoms, but these symptoms are most often caused by illness, injury, benign tumors, or other problems. If you have symptoms that do not get better after a few weeks, see your doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Often, cancer does not cause pain, so do not wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor.


The symptoms of cancer can vary depending on the type of cancer, but some common symptoms that people may experience include the following:


Unexplained weight loss



Of course, you can slim down when you change the way you eat or exercise. It can also happen if you have other issues, like stress or a thyroid problem. But it’s not normal to lose 10 pounds or more without trying. There's a chance it could be the first sign of cancer of the pancreas, stomach, oesophagus, lung, or another type of cancer.


Fatigue or weakness



A lot of things can make you very tired, and most of them aren’t serious. But fatigue is one early sign of some cancers, like leukaemia. Some colon and stomach cancers can cause blood loss that you can't see, which can make you feel very tired. If you're wiped out all the time and rest doesn't help, talk to your doctor.


Mouth Issues



From bad breath to canker sores, most changes in your mouth aren't 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.


Changes in the skin, such as yellowing or darkening



A new spot on your skin or one that changes size, shape, or colour could be a sign of skin cancer. Another is a spot that doesn't look the same as all the others on your body. If you have any unusual marks, have your doctor check your skin. They will do an exam and may remove a small piece (called a biopsy) to take a closer look for cancer cells


Changes in bowel or bladder habits, such as constipation or blood in the urine or stool



Many men have urinary issues as they get older, like the need to go more often, leaks, or a weak stream. Usually, these are signs of an enlarged prostate, but they could also mean prostate cancer. See your doctor for an exam and maybe a special blood test called a PSA test.

If you see blood in the toilet after you go, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor. Bloody stool is likely to come from swollen, inflamed veins called haemorrhoids, but there's a chance it could be colon cancer. Blood in your pee could be a problem like a urinary tract infection, but it may be kidney or bladder cancer.


Difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness



The common cold, acid reflux, or even some medicine can make it hard to swallow once in a while. If it doesn’t get better with time or with antacids, see your doctor. Trouble swallowing can also be a sign of cancer in your throat or the pipe between your mouth and stomach called the oesophagus. Your doctor will do an exam and some tests like a barium X-ray, in which you swallow a chalky fluid to show your throat more clearly on the image.


Swollen Lymph Nodes



You have these small, bean-shaped glands in your neck, armpits, and other places in your body. When they're swollen, it often means you're fighting an infection like a cold or strep throat. Some cancers like lymphoma and leukaemia can also cause this kind of swelling. Talk to your doctor to pinpoint the cause.


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 exam to look for the cause.


Persistent cough or difficulty breathing



If you don't smoke, there's very little chance a nagging cough is a sign of cancer. Usually, it's caused by postnasal drip, asthma, acid reflux, or an infection. But if yours doesn't go away or you cough up blood -- especially if you are a smoker -- see your doctor. They may test mucus from your lungs or do a chest X-ray to check for lung cancer.


Lumps or bumps that can be felt through the skin



Most breast changes are not cancer. It's still important, though, to tell your doctor about them and check them out. Let them know about any lumps, nipple changes or discharge, redness or thickening, or pain in your breasts. They'll do an exam and may suggest a mammogram, MRI, or maybe a biopsy.


Changes in the menstrual cycle



Bleeding that's not part of your usual period can have many causes, like fibroids or even some types of birth control. But tell your doctor if you're bleeding between periods, after sex, or have bloody discharge. They'll want to rule out cancer of the uterus, cervix, or vagina. Be sure to let them know if you are bleeding after menopause. That's not normal and should be checked out right away.


Unexplained bleeding or bruising.



It is important to note that experiencing any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have cancer, as they can also be caused by other conditions. However, if you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about your health, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional. Early detection of cancer can increase the chances of successful treatment.


Swelling in the testicles



If you notice a lump or swelling in your testicles, you need to see your doctor right away. A painless lump is the most common sign of testicular cancer. Sometimes though, men may just have a heavy feeling in their lower belly or scrotum or think their testicles feel larger. 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.


If you suspect any of these symptoms visit the nearest hospital for examination or consult a doctor on the Byon8 app.


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