How To Identify Early Symptoms of Cancer and Approach Them
The news is never pleasant – getting to know that someone is diagnosed with cancer. A disease so debilitating and nerve-wracking, over 14 million cancer cases are newly registered across the globe every day as per a recent report by the Cancer Research UK. And the more disheartening fact is that out of this lot, more than half the patients succumb to it – nearly 8.2 million, to be precise.
While prostate and lung cancers take the front seat in cancer among men, breast, colon and cervical cancers are recorded to be the major culprits among women. In most cases, delayed detection and reluctance to seek timely treatment have proven to add to the dismal situation surrounding patients. But with the constant advancement in medical technology and better access to healthcare, there seems to be a shift in the way cancer is perceived.
Periodic cancer screenings will go a long way in the early detection of this much feared disease and can tremendously reduce the mortality rate that exists now. Although cancer does not always come with visible symptoms, the persistence of certain ailments, aches and pains can point towards its presence. Here are a few symptoms that might require a visit to the doctor –
- Change in bowel movements: In certain cases, doctors have linked persistent loose stools with colon cancer. It could be changes in the size or amount of the regular bowel habits; either way, constant bowel irritation demands a visit to the doctor’s.
- Constant cough or sore throat: Before you write it off as just another effect of the flu season, reconsider those lasting cough sessions, some of which are also accompanied by blood-stained saliva. They could be early indicators of lung, laryngeal or thyroid cancers, or even lymphoma.
- Declining blood count or anemia: Most cancers, especially bowel cancer, are known to carry iron deficiency with them. This could also mean frequent feelings of lethargy or weakness, and a sudden decrease in weight loss as well.
- Lumps or thickenings: Do not ignore any thickenings or unexplained bumps you happen to notice on on beneath your skin. Lumps could be spotted anywhere, widely, near the breasts for women and testicular area in men.
- Frequent urination: Prostate cancer is a widely diagnosed cancer among men. And one of its major symptoms is a noticeable difference in bladder activities, often in the form of frequent need to urinate. Weak and painful flows are also other noticed.
Persistent, unexplained pain: Those annoying late night back and neck aches could possibly be keeping you awake for a reason – to head to your doctor for a consultation. Starting from pancreatic cancer to ovarian cancer, consistent pain is your body’s way of communicating that everything is not alright.
Now that we have looked at some of the usual symptoms noticed in patients, it would be encouraging to think of what can be done to screen the cancer. Early detection can improve the effectiveness of treatment exponentially. So here are a few common tests that are carried out to diagnose cancer –
- Bone scan
- Bone marrow aspiration
- Barium enema
- Pap smear
- Blood protein testing
- Complete blood count (CBC)