Cancer can cause a range of symptoms, such as fevers, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, and pain, that many people often associate with noncancerous issues.
Recognizing the indicators of cancer, monitoring them, and going to a doctor if you’re concerning can lead to an earlier diagnosis and a better prognosis.
In our guide, we’ll cover why monitoring your symptoms is crucial and what to look out for in order to give yourself the best chance of catching cancer early.
Why Monitoring Cancer Symptoms Is Vital
Identifying and monitoring symptoms will help you and your doctor detect cancer earlier, which is vital as early detection leads to a more favorable prognosis.
Part of ensuring you spot the symptoms early is by taking part in regular screenings such as a full body MRI, which can check multiple parts of your body at once, including 14 different organs such as the brain, liver, ovaries, lungs, and uterus.
A full body MRI allows you to screen for many cancers at once, which is crucial for cancers that show no symptoms at all, without the need for multiple appointments; for more information and assistance on how a full body MRI can help you, head over to Ezra.
While many symptoms you experience may be caused by something noncancerous, you shouldn’t dismiss them, especially if the problem has been ongoing for an extended period of time or has gotten worse quickly.
As soon as you experience the symptoms, we detail below, speak with your doctor to rule out cancer and get treatment.
How Does Cancer Cause Symptoms?
When you develop cancerous cells, and it begins to grow, it can push on organs, blood vessels, and nerves, which causes symptoms.
Even small tumors can lead to symptoms in organs like the brain, and as cancer spreads, also known as metastasizes, you may begin to notice symptoms in multiple parts of your body.
Another reason people experience symptoms is due to how much of your body’s energy cancer cells use and the changes they make to how your immune system works.
Most Common Signs of Cancer
Every person is different, and the symptoms people experience vary, but there are some general signs of cancer that you can look out for, such as weight loss, fever, fatigue, and unusual lumps.
- Weight Loss: Sudden and unexplained weight loss is often the first sign of cancer and is common in those who have stomach, pancreatic, lung, or esophageal cancer. However, weight loss can occur with any cancer.
- Fever: As cancer metastasizes, fever can develop, typically in the form of night sweats, and most people with cancer experience these fevers at some point.
- Lumps: The thickening of skin or development of lumps is a well-known early symptom of cancer, and you should be checking your body regularly for any changes. If you find a lump, you should speak to your doctor immediately, even if you’re unsure if it is a lump. Cancers of the breast, lymph nodes, testicles, and soft tissue typically develop lumps in the early stages, and catching it before it spreads is the best way to receive a positive prognosis.
- Fatigue: Feelings of extreme tiredness are often attributed to a busy life, but if you experience fatigue for an extended period, it could signify cancer.
- Skin Changes: Redness, darkening, or yellowing of the skin is a common symptom of skin cancer. Additionally, freckles, warts, or moles that change in shape, size, or color could be a sign of cancer, as well as any sores that don’t heal.
- Pain: Pain can be an early symptom of many cancers, depending on the location of the pain. General pain is often associated with bone cancer, whereas back pain is common in those with pancreatic, colorectal, or ovarian cancer. Furthermore, frequent headaches that last for long periods without going away are often a sign of brain tumors.
- Restroom Habits: Diarhea, constipation, and other bowel problems are often ignored and attributed to noncancerous issues; however, these are also early warning signs for colorectal cancer. Additionally, pain during urination, blood, or other bladder function changes are typically signs of bladder or prostate cancer.
- Coughing: A hoarse voice or a persistent cough could be a symptom of thyroid, lung, or laryngeal cancer.
- Indigestion: Problems swallowing or indigestion can be ignored by people with these symptoms; however, if you have regular indigestion with no cause or have difficulty swallowing, it could be a sign of esophageal, throat, or stomach cancer.
- Bleeding: Bleeding can be associated with multiple cancers; for example, coughing up blood is often signifies lung cancer, whereas abnormal bleeding vaginal bleeding is typically an early sign of cervical or endometrial cancer.
- Mouth Changes: If you notice white patches on your tongue or other areas of your mouth, these could be precancers that can become oral cancer. Other cancers also have symptoms such as bleeding, numbness, or sores in the mouth, and you should speak to your doctor immediately if you begin to exhibit any of these signs.
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