Most people don’t bother to learn what the early warning signs of cancer are. That is until they or someone they love comes down with some form of the disease. I can understand why. People don’t really like to think about their own mortality, much less a deadly disease that often strikes unexpectedly, and costs tens of thousands of dollars to treat. Plus, there are so many forms of cancer with differing symptoms. Trying to learn them all can seem quite daunting.
Fortunately, there are a handful of symptoms that most or all forms of cancer share. Learning these symptoms can help you get on the path to treatment as soon as possible, and better your odds of survival. Don’t let squeamishness keep you from learning about these critical signs:
- One of the first signs is sudden and unexplained weight loss. It’s also one of the most common symptoms among cancer patients. Even before patients begin treatments like chemotherapy, they often experience a loss of appetite as part of a metabolic syndrome called cachexia.
- Along with weight loss and a lack of appetite, cancer can take a lot out of you, and leave your body with fewer resources for normal functions. That’s why common symptoms include sores and other injuries that refuse to heal.
- Cancer can often lead to various forms of internal bleeding. That’s why you should look out for blood in vomit, urine or feces. And because of that blood loss, you may begin to experience severe and persistent fatigue, regardless of whether or not you see any blood.
- Though cancer occurs in part because your immune system has failed to overcome it, that doesn’t mean that your immune is twiddling its thumbs. Cancer can cause a potent immune response, and with that, a fever that can last days or weeks.
- Obviously, if you notice a mole on your skin that continues to grow, it could be a sign of skin cancer. However, there are multiple skin conditions that can be signs of other forms of cancer. If you notice a rash; skin that is darkened, yellowed, or red; or skin that suddenly sprouts more hair than usual, it can indicate multiple forms of cancer.
- And finally, pay attention to any lumps that you can feel under the skin. Most people know that lumps in the testicles or breast tissue can be signs of cancer, but you should be wary of lumps that form anywhere.