I have always told my patients over the last 40 years, that cancer if detected early, is no longer a death sentence. That diagnosis of cancer has improved due to rigorous screening tests now available. Which makes early treatment and arrest of metastasis easier. A regular reader of my column, has developed this pathological phobia for cancer. She sent me the above topic. On further interrogation I discovered that she has already made up her mind that she has cancer and only awaiting diagnosis.
Now pay attention, if you notice any of the signs and symptoms numerated below. Please consult your doctor.
Unexplained weight loss – when you lose weight drastically for no reason, consult your doctor. A loss of 10kg or more, when you are not on any weight losing regime, in rare cases could be the first sign of cancer.
Fatigue – This is not a fatigue similar to how you feel after a long day’s work or play. Extreme fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest can be an early sign of cancer. It is a medical fact that, cancer uses your body nutrients to grow and advance, so those nutrients are no longer available to replenish your body. This “nutrient theft”, can make you feel extremely tired. There are lots of underlying causes of fatigue, many of them not cancer–related. If your symptoms are severe enough to affect your quality of life, please consult your doctor.
Skin changes – Our skin is the largest organ of our body and can be a window into our overall health. Jaundice that is, yellowish discoloration of eyes or finger tips, is one symptom that could suggest a possible infection or cancer. Consult your doctor if you notice any sign of jaundice.
A new spot on your skin or one that changes size, shape, or color could be a sign of skin cancer. Another thing is a spot that doesn’t look the same as all the others on your body. If you have unusual marks, let your doctor examine your skin, the doctor will remove a small piece called biopsy, to take a closer look for cancer cells.
Breast changes – it should be noted that most breast changes especially in women are not cancerous. But, it is still important to tell your doctor about them, who will then check them out. Do not be shy you should err on the side of caution. Tell your doctor about any lumps, nipple changes or discharge, redness or thickening, or pain in your breasts. The doctor will examine and may suggest a mammogram, MRI, or may be biopsy.
Other signs of early cancer include – chronic cough, bloating of abdomen, difficulty in urinating, swollen lymph nodes, blood when you urinate or when you pass stool, testicular changes, trouble with swallowing, unusual vaginal bleeding, mouth lesions, persistent Fever of Unknown Origin or general debilitation. Please if you notice any of the numerated signs and symptoms, consult your doctor. Always be medically guided.
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