The sooner a disease is diagnosed, more are the chances of it getting cured. And when the disease is as fatal as cancer, knowing the early symptoms may help in eliminating the risk factors to a great extent. But, unfortunately, these early signs are often overlooked, causing much concern later.
Following is the list of early signs of five very common types of cancers. It should be noted that these symptoms indicate that there is something wrong with our body mechanism. They should never be brushed aside thinking that they are only temporary discomforts.
Early signs of Lung cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer doesn’t show any symptoms until it spreads to other body parts. However, there are a few cases in which early symptoms may occur. These symptoms include abrupt weight loss, persistent cough, abnormal voice changes or hoarseness, pain in chest that becomes worse with deep breathing, laughing or coughing and onset of wheezing.
When lung cancer reaches later stages, it may cause coughing up blood and shortness of breath. Also, pain in bones, changes in nervous system like headache or weakness, lumps especially in neck or above the collarbone are symptoms when lung cancer starts spreading to other parts of body. And if it reaches liver, skin or eyes may turn pale.
It is advised to see a doctor if a person experiences the above symptoms. An early diagnosis helps in effective treatment.
Early signs of Breast cancer
The most common symptom of breast cancer is formation of a lump/lumps in the breast. Also, a painless, hard mass in the breast with irregular edges could also develop and is the sign of breast cancer. It is important to know how your breasts normally feel and look. In case of pain, or any symptoms that may put you in doubt, get yourself checked.
Some other early symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Swelling in breast
- Pain in breast or in nipple
- Nipple retraction (nipple turning inwards)
- Discharge from nipple (and it’s not milk)
- Redness of breast skin or of the nipple
- Skin irritation or dimpling
Early signs of Skin cancer
Atypical mole, sores, lumps or changes in the skin (look as well as feel) could be some signs of skin cancer. Hard knots on the armpit, irritation or rashes on the skin, which are not caused by any food allergy or harsh cosmetics, and growth or change in birthmarks are some other symptoms of skin cancer.
Mainly, there are three types of skin cancer: basal-cell skin cancer (BCC), squamous-cell skin cancer (SCC) and melanoma.
Early signs of these skin cancers are:
Basal-cell skin cancer (BCC): A raised, smooth, pearly bump that occurs on sun-exposed skin of head, neck or shoulders is the most common sign of basal-cell skin cancer. When the tumour develops, small blood vessels become visible through it. Sometimes, they may be mistaken for sores that do not heal.
This type of skin cancer is the least fatal. A proper treatment can treat basal-cell skin cancer without any scarring.
Squamous-cell skin cancer: A red, scaling, thick patch on sun-exposed skin is the main symptom of squamous-cell skin cancer. These patches can be firm, hard and dome-shaped nodules. If this type of cancer is not treated, these patches may develop into a large mass. Squamous-cell is the second most common skin cancer. It is dangerous, but not as risky as melanoma.
Melanoma: Symptoms of melanoma include change in size, shape, or color of a mole. Other signs include appearance of a new mole during adulthood or pain, itching, ulceration, redness around the site of mole, or bleeding at the site. The characteristics of melanoma cancer are defined as “ABCDE”, A is for “asymmetrical”, B for “borders” (irregular), C for “color”, D for “diameter” (larger than 6 mm) and E for “evolving.”
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Early signs of Kidney cancer
People with kidney cancer may develop following early signs and symptoms:
- Blood in the urine
- Swelling of the ankles and legs
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Recurrent fever (not from a cold, flu, or other infection)
- Pain or pressure in the side or back
- A mass or lump in the side or back
Early signs of Stomach cancer
There are rarely any symptoms of early-stage stomach cancer. Hence, to detect stomach cancer at an initial stage is really difficult.
A few symptoms that may appear in some cases are:
- Poor appetite
- Sudden weight loss (without trying)
- Frequent pain in abdomen
- Feeling discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- A sense of fullness in the upper abdomen even after eating a small meal
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Vomiting with or without blood
- Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Low red blood cell count
Some of these signs can also be the reasons of a stomach virus or an ulcer. If these symptoms appear, do not ignore them and contact an expert as early as possible.