A sign is an indication that something is wrong with your health. This is manifested physically so it can be perceived by another person like a doctor, nurse, or even your family. Common examples of signs of sickness are fever, fast breathing, and skin rashes. A symptom on the other hand is an indication of disease that are felt or experienced only by the person who has it. These would include aches, shortness of breath, or muscle pain.
In cancer, observing signs and symptoms are necessary for early detection of the disease, which is paramount to treatment. In short, the earlier the cancer detection, the bigger the chance of recovery. This is why, it's imperative that you observe your body regularly and watch out for the general signs and symptoms of this life-threatening disease, which include the following.
Unexplained Weight Loss
This refers to the type of weight loss that has no known reason. If you have unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more, it is possibly a first sign of cancer, which usually happens with cancers of the stomach, lungs, esophagus and pancreas.
Fever is common in cancer patients. But this occurs more often if the cancer has already spread. In few cancers like lymphoma or leukemia does fever occur during the early stage of cancer.
This one refers to extreme exhaustion that no amount of rest could alleviate. In leukemia, this symptom appears during the early stage. In some types like stomach or colon cancer, blood loss occurs and this triggers fatigue.
Pain is a common early symptom in bone or testicular cancer. It can be a headache that is not cured by rest or treatment. It can also be a back pain, which is a common symptom of colon, ovary, or rectum cancer. Pain brought about by cancer is felt when the cancer cells have already spread.
It's not only in skin cancer that you'd experience changes on the skin. Common signs and symptoms in the skin include hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin, yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice), erythema or reddening of the skin, excessive hair growth and constant itching of the skin.
Other Signs/Symptoms and Types of Cancer
You must also watch out for signs and symptoms of certain forms of cancer.
- For one, change in bowel habits or bladder function may indicate cancer of the colon.
- Sores that do not heal may be a sign of oral cancer.
- White patches inside the mouth or on the tongue can signal leukoplakia, which if left untreated can turn into oral cancer.
- Unusual bleeding or discharge should also be a cause for concern.
- If there is blood in the stool, it can be a sign of cancer of the rectum or colon.
- Blood in the phlegm can signal lung cancer.
- Blood in the urine can indicate bladder or kidney cancer.
- You must also observe for signs of skin thickening or lumps in the breast or other parts of the body.
- Moles, warts or freckles that change in appearance should be reported to the doctor immediately, as these may be signs of a melanoma.
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, or any other unusual change in your health, see a doctor immediately to find out if something is wrong so treatment can be employed right away.