Routine tests such as pap smears and mammograms are important, but do not rely solely on these tests. It is equally important to listen to your body and notice anything different or inexplicable. You do not want to join the ranks of cancer patients who realize that it is too late.
Here are some signs that are usually overlooked:
Wheezing or shortness of breath
One of the first signs of lung cancer which patients notice is the inability to capture breath.
Chronic cough or chest pain
Several kinds of cancer, including leukemia and tumors of the lung, may cause symptoms that mimic cough or bronchitis. One way to tell the difference: problems persist or get back in the repeated cycle. Some patients feel chest pain that extends to the shoulder or down the arm.
Frequent fevers or infections
These may be signs of leukemia, a blood cancer that starts in the cells of the bone marrow. Leukemia causes the production of abnormal white blood cells in the marrow that attack white blood cells, and the body is fighting infection.
Often doctors discovered leukemia in older adults after they have several times complained of fever and flu-like symptoms for a longer period of time.
Difficulty to swallow
It is usually related to cancer of the esophagus and throat cancer. Problems of swallowing is sometimes one of the first signs of lung cancer.
Swollen lymph nodes or lumps in the neck, armpit or groin
Enlarged lymph nodes indicate changes in the lymphatic system, which can be a sign of cancer. For example, lumps or enlarged lymph node armpits is sometimes a sign of breast cancer. Painless lumps in the neck, armpit or groin may be an early sign of leukemia.
Excessive bruising or bleeding that does not stop
This symptom usually suggests something abnormal happening with the platelets and red blood cells, which can be a sign of leukemia. One woman with leukemia described bruising in strange places, on the fingers and hands, as well as red spots on the face, neck and chest. Another sign is bleeding gums. Explanation: over time, leukemia damage red blood cells and platelets, reducing the ability of blood to carry oxygen and clotting.
Weakness and fatigue
Generalized fatigue and weakness is a symptom of many different types of cancer that must be considered in combination with other symptoms. If you feel exhausted, without explanation, and do not respond to more sleep, talk to your doctor
Abdominal bloating or weight gain
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer say they noticed unexplained bloating that came quite rapidly, and continued over a long period of time (as opposed to a few days each month during PMS). This is one of the main ways they knew that something was wrong.
A feeling of fullness and the inability to eat
This is another sign of ovarian cancer, women say that they have no appetite and cannot eat, even when they have not eat for some time. Any woman who experiences bloating visible more than 13 times over a period of a month, especially if accompanied by pelvic pain, should call the doctor and ask for a pelvic ultrasound.
Pain in the pelvis or abdomen
By itself, pelvic pain can mean many things. In fact, it is a common symptom of fibroids, ovarian cysts, and other disorders of the reproductive tract. Make sure that your doctor looks at all possible explanations and opinions, as pain and cramping in the pelvis and abdomen can go hand in hand with bloating that often signals ovarian cancer. Leukemia can also cause pain in the abdomen as a result of an enlarged spleen.
Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
“I thought it was hemorrhoids” is one of the most common things doctors hear when diagnosing colorectal cancer. Blood in the stool is the only reason to call the doctor and do a colonoscopy.
Unexplained weight loss
If you notice the pounds coming off and you have not made any changes in diet or exercise regimen, you should ask why. Weight loss is an early sign of colon cancer and other cancers of the digestive tract, but can also be a sign of cancer that has spread to the liver. It affects the appetite and the body’s ability to get rid of waste products.
Red, painful, swollen breasts
Everyone knows to check lumps in the breast, but too often overlooked symptoms closer to the surface, which can indicate inflammatory breast cancer. Red or purple coloration is also cause for concern. Call your doctor if you notice any unexplained changes in your breasts.
Changes in nipples
One of the most common changes women remember before they were diagnosed with breast cancer are warts that have become flattened, inverted, or turned inside out. In addition, inflammatory carcinoma of the breast with the nipple causes problems, such as itching.
Unusually heavy and painful periods or bleeding between periods
Many women in which this occurs reveal endometriosis or uterine cancer. Unfortunately, many women often think that these are the symptoms of perimenopause. Ask for a transvaginal ultrasound if you suspect that something more than painful menstruation.
Swelling of the face
Some patients with lung cancer noticing puffiness, swelling or redness in the face. The explanation for this is that small cell lung tumors commonly block blood vessels in the chest, preventing blood from flowing freely from the head and face.
Inflamed bumps that cannot heal, or easy bleeding
Most of us do not know to look at changes in moles that could indicate skin cancer. But other signs, such as inflamed bumps, it’s easy to miss. Familiarize yourself with the different types of skin cancer, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and check the skin all over the body.
Changes in nails
Unexplained changes in the nails can be a sign of several types of cancer. Brown or black stripes or dots under the nail can indicate skin cancer, while newly discovered extensions to the ends of the fingers, with nails that winding down can be a sign of lung cancer. Pale or white nails can be a sign that the liver is not functioning properly, sometimes a sign of cancer of the liver.
Pain in the lower back or on the right side
Many patients say that this is the first sign of liver cancer, known as one of the “silent killer” (the other is ovarian cancer). Breast cancer is usually diagnosed through the back, which can occur when the cancer has spread to the spine or ribs.