5 Cancer Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

By Jasmine Stone

Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases in the world. Over thirty percent of people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. While the majority of sufferers are diagnosed in later life, cancer can occur at any age. Early detection of the disease is the key to successful treatment. The best way to ensure early detection is to know the signs and symptoms to look out for. The following symptoms could be a sign of cancer, and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.

Unexplained lumps or growths

Unexplained lumps or growths on your body should be reported to your doctor straight away. In particular, women should routinely check their breasts, armpits and the tissue surrounding the breasts for lumps or changes to the area. Men should check their testicles regularly for lumps or changes in size. Both men and women need to be aware of any unusual lumps, bumps or growths anywhere on their body.

Persistent cough

A persistent or chronic cough could be a sign of lung cancer. If you have had a cough for more than three weeks, you should see your doctor. Coughing up blood should be reported to your doctor straight away, even if there are only small amounts of blood in your mucus. Unexplained breathlessness and persistent hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks could also be a sign of cancer.

Unusual moles

New moles or changes to existing moles could be a sign of skin cancer. If you notice a new mole or a change in the appearance, texture, colour or sensations surrounding an existing mole, you should see your doctor. Bleeding, oozing or crusting of the area surrounding a mole should be reported to your doctor straight away.

Unintentional weight loss

Weight loss can be a symptom of cancer. If you experience unintentional weight loss, which is not the result of reduced calorie intake or increased exercise, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Depression, anxiety, stress and even some medications can also cause weight loss, so be sure to tell your doctor of anything that may be causing your reduced weight.

Abnormal bowel movements

If you notice a change in your bowel movements, such as needing to go to the toilet more often, chronic constipation, loose bowel movements or pain when you go to the toilet, inform your doctor as soon as possible. A change in bowel movements could be a sign of bowel cancer, particularly if accompanied by blood in your stools.

While all of these symptoms can have perfectly innocent causes, it is always best to check with your doctor to make sure there is no underlying cause. In many cases, cancer can be treated effectively if it is caught early enough. Knowing what is normal for your body will help you to identify any changes that may be symptomatic of cancer.