Cancer is a devastating illness. Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells that affects the normal functioning of other cells and tissues. The Cancer cells are immature cells which do not have any functional value; however, they compete for and consume most nutrients, depriving the healthy, functional cells of energy. This growth can occupy more space in the body, exerting pressure on the nearby organs, nerves, and blood vessels, leading to complications.
Cancer is of two types, namely the benign tumor and malignant form. The benign form is confined to only one place, whereas, a malignant form spreads to the other tissues and organs of the body.
Like any other chronic illness, cancer risk can be minimized; cancer can be treated, if diagnosed early, and symptoms can be managed with various treatment modalities.
Cancer is a major health concern, affecting the normal life of an individual. Smoking and chewing of tobacco have turned out to be the most common risk factors associated with cancer. The most common types of cancer among men is oral cancer, while in women it is breast cancer.
Cancer is curable and it can be conquered. Early detection can facilitate prompt treatment. There are common signs and symptoms of cancer, which if detected early, can save lives and improve survival.
- Unusual bleeding and blood loss: Any unusual bleeding and discharge of blood from the urine, stools or vomiting of blood while coughing and discharge of blood between menstrual periods should be taken seriously. The discharge of blood may be a sign of either cancer of bladder or colorectal, lung or cervical cancer respectively.
- Change in urine and bowel habits: A painful urination with difficulty in maintaining the urine consistency and frequent urination during night may be a sign of either prostate or bladder cancer. Any changes in the bowel, with a feeling of stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, a feeling of heaviness even after going to the toilet can be a sign of colon cancer.
- A non-healing sore: A sore that does not heal for a long period of time, becomes painful and develops into an ulcer, may be a sign of oral or skin cancer.
- Nagging and persistent cough: A persistent dry cough with hoarseness lasting for more than 3 weeks may be a sign of lung, larynx or thyroid cancer.
- Decreased Weight: A loss of appetite and weight loss of approximately about 10 pounds, due to unknown reasons, may be a sign of pancreas, stomach, esophagus and lung cancer.
- Obvious and sudden change in a mole or wart: A sudden appearance or disappearance of a mole or an increased size of a mole or a wart greater the 7mm size may be a sign of skin cancer or melanoma.
- Indigestion and difficulty in food intake: A person finding it difficult to swallow food and experiencing indigestion, finding it difficult in maintaining pressure in the throat and stomach may be a sign of throat, esophagus or stomach cancer.
- Thickened lump: A thickened lump formation or sudden increase in the size of the lump in any part of the body may be a sign of cancer of the lymph nodes, breast, testicles, or soft tissues.
The 8 signs and symptoms when detected and diagnosed at an early stage reduces the risk of complications related to cancer. Every person should be aware about theses signs and symptoms so that they can seek medical attention when in doubt.