In the United States, two people die from cancer every three minutes.
A little less than 40 percent of Americans will at some point in their lives be diagnosed with cancer.
The idea of being diagnosed with cancer is absolutely terrifying, but catching cancer early can prevent it’s spread and save your life.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common cancer warning signs.
10 Cancer Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night and wondered, “do I have cancer?”, you’re not alone.
If you got here by googling “signs I might have cancer” in a state of panic, it’s important to remember that all of these signs you might have cancer could also be symptoms of other conditions or diseases. So don’t panic if you have any of these warning signs of cancer. If you’re concerned your symptoms might be indicative of cancer or another serious condition, the best thing you can do is get yourself to your doctor and get checked out.
1. Loss of Appetite
Cancer is known to affect your metabolism and it can cause you to lose your appetite. Also, specific types of cancer like pancreatic, colon, ovarian, and stomach cancers can put pressure on your stomach which might make you rarely feel hungry.
Remember that there are a lot of other conditions that can cause a loss of appetite, such as flu and depression.
2. Unexplained Weight Loss
Another one of the signs you might have cancer is unexplained weight loss. Almost all people with cancer will experience weight loss at some point in the disease. If you’ve lost 10 or more pounds without trying and for no explainable reason, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor.
This type of sudden and unexplainable weight loss is most often caused by stomach, esophagus, lung, or pancreatic cancer.
3. Blood in Stool
Finding blood in your stool can also mean you have an infection, hemorrhoids, ulcers, or a sore. It tends to indicate a problem in your GI tract.
If the blood is bright red it could mean that the blood is sourcing from your intestine or rectum. If the blood is darker that indicates that it’s coming from somewhere higher in your GI tract, like your stomach.
If you find blood in your stool you’ll definitely want to get to a doctor.
4. Blood in Urine
This means that there is something wrong in your urinary tract. There are several other conditions that can cause blood to appear in your urine, such as kidney stones, kidney disease, or an infection. It can also be a sign of kidney or bladder cancer.
Again, this is one for a doctor to check out right away.
5. Persistent Fever
Fever tends to be a sign that you have an infection of some kind. However, if you’re experiencing a fever that persists for more than a few days of over 100.5 degrees F, see your doctor.
6. Excessive Fatigue
This does not mean the normal tiredness that affects us all. The time to be concerned is if you have deep exhaustion that won’t go away even if you get more sleep or change your activity level. See your doctor if your exhaustion doesn’t get better with rest.
7. Skin Changes
Changes in your skin or a drastic change in a mole or a wart can be skin cancer signs. If you have growths or sores that don’t heal or changes in your skin’s coloring, you might want to go to a dermatologist.
Skin cancer isn’t the only type of cancer that can display symptoms through skin changes. If you find that your skin looks darker, your eyes and skin are yellowish, or you have excessive itching or hair growth, these are other potential cancer signs.
If you have a mole, freckle or wart that changes drastically in size, shape, color, or that loses its sharp border, this is definitely a reason to see a doctor.
8. Feeling Thickening or a Lump
There are a number of cancers that you can feel through your skin. These are cancers that tend to occur in the body’s soft tissues, like the breasts, lymph nodes, and testicles.
It’s important to know that some breast cancers appear as thickened or red skin and not as a lump. If your family history puts you at high risk for developing breast cancer, you might consider undergoing breast cancer genetic testing.
9. Trouble Swallowing or Indigestion
Both of these are common occurrences that are normally caused by circumstances much less serious than cancer. However, if you have swallowing problems or indigestion that won’t go away, it’s possibly a sign of stomach, through, or esophagus cancer.
10. Hoarseness or a Nagging Cough
We’ve all had lingering coughs before, but sometimes it can be a sign of something more serious than the flu or a cold. In combination with weight loss, chest pain, breathing trouble and fatigue, a nagging cough can be a sign of lung cancer.
Knowledge is Power in Early Cancer Detection
Sometimes things are so scary that we don’t want to think about them, but early detection of cancer could mean that your condition is treatable and survivable. It’s important to pay attention to our body and our health and be aware of potential cancer warning signs. If you can relate to any of these cancer signs, the best thing you can do is make yourself a doctor’s appointment.
Did you find this article on the warning signs of cancer helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles on health and medicine.