Signs You Have Cancer: How to Know If You Have Cancer

signs you have cancer

Updated January 12, 2014 – Signs You Have Cancer: How to Know If You Have Cancer

Cancer is one of the world’s deadliest diseases as it claims many lives globally on an annual basis. Even the developed nations of the world are not free from the menace of this disease, the exact cause of which remains a mystery. The best and most proven approach to cure cancer is to get it “arrested” in its earliest stages. In other words, early diagnosis of cancer is the best key to battling it whenever it manifests. This is because cancer treatment procedures are most effective at the earliest stages of the disease. However, there is no way by which you can defeat cancer in its earliest stages except you know those signs you have cancer. It is only when you can tell those signs you have cancer in your body that you can help yourself as soonest as possible. In this article some very vital points such as how cancer wrecks havoc in the body and how to know you have cancer are discussed.

Before we go into any further discussion, I will, for the sake of the layman define the two terms, “sign” and “symptom”. From experience, I have observed that most people do not really know the difference between these two words, even though they know that there is a difference. Some others, on the other hand erroneously think that these two words have the same meaning and can therefore be used interchangeably. The next two paragraphs shed more light on the main difference between a sign and a symptom.

By definition, a sign can best be simply put as an indication that something has gone abnormal in the body. In most cases, a sign is observed by another person, and not the person on whose body the sign manifests. So, signs of various abnormal conditions are more likely to be observed by your close ones such as members of your family and also competent professionals such as doctors, nurses and other professionals in the field of healthcare. For example, loss of interest, loss of appetite and isolation are signs of depression (which are not likely to be noticed by the depressed person).

On the other hand, a symptom can be defined also as an indication of disease or injury but is observed or felt only by the affected person. Unlike signs, symptoms are less likely to be felt by someone other than the affected person. For example, aches and fatigue are symptoms of depression (which are not likely to be felt by another person except the affected individual).

Cancer is a collective name for a group of deadly diseases which can affect virtually all tissues and organs of the body. These diseases bring about some signs and symptoms. However, the signs and symptoms manifested depend on the affected tissue or organ and also the degree of damage done (which increases as the disease progresses). Usually, most signs and symptoms are observed in and around the affected body tissue or organ. For example one of the signs you have blood cancer is a malformation of blood cells (more especially the white blood cells). Also, one of the common signs you have throat cancer is that you feel pain in your throat, especially while swallowing. Another typical example is when you have cancer of the mouth; one of the common signs you have cancer in mouth is the development of a painless lump on your lip.

Despite the fact that certain signs and symptoms are specific only to some types of cancer, there are many general signs and symptoms which are observable in virtually all types of cancer. These are discussed in the next couple of paragraphs.

Firstly, one of the very common general signs of cancer is unexplained weight loss. Do you observe that you are losing weight for no just cause (without placing yourself on a weight loss diet program or routine workouts)? If you have just noticed any recent weight loss of about 10 pounds or more, then that is just one of the earliest signs of cancer in general.

Fever is also one of the common symptoms of cancer. However, unlike unexplained weight loss, fever manifests as a symptom of cancer only after much damage has been done (when the disease has spread extensively from its origin to neighboring tissues and organs). So, if you do observe a persistent fever which would not subside even after medication, then, that may be a sign of cancer.

Also, fatigue is another symptom which is typical of cancer in general. Even though, it is more serious in leukemia (blood cancer) patients, it is a symptom typical of virtually all other types of cancer. Do you feel fatigued easily, regardless of whether or not you have engaged in rigorous activity? That may be a symptom of cancer, especially leukemia.

Other than skin cancer, most of the other forms of cancer also present skin-damaging symptoms. Such symptoms may include paleness of skin, yellowing of skin, reddening of skin, darkening of skin, itching on a specific area of skin or in its entirety. Other skin-related symptoms include excessive hair growth and whitening or formation of patches or blisters on skin.

As regards those symptoms which are restricted to the affected parts, some have been mentioned earlier. In addition to that however, there are some other symptoms which are felt only in affected body parts. Examples of these symptoms include:

  • Sores which do not heal (e.g. in cancer of the mouth, skin or any of the reproductive organs).
  • Unusual bleeding or abnormal discharge of fluid (e.g. in cancers of the uterus, endometrium, cervix, lungs and kidneys)
  • Hoarseness or nagging cough (e.g. in cancer of the mouth, trachea, thyroid gland or larynx)
  • Indigestion (e.g. in cancer of the stomach and colon)
  • Formation of lumps (e.g. in cancer of the breast, mouth and testicles.

It is highly important that you watch out for any of these signs and symptoms at all times. This is because an early detection of cancer will go a long way in facilitating its complete elimination. So, read over this article again and keep it for repeated reading as it contains invaluable information that may just help prolong your life!

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