The purpose of this blog is just to raise cancer awareness; if you notice that you are experiencing one, or more symptoms from our list, don't panic. Just schedule an appointment with your doctor, and tell them how you feel and whilst you are there request some nutrition and basic fitness advice. It is probably nothing serious, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. You have been postponing that regular checkup for quite some time now anyway, so why don't you do it now, and get it out of the way.
Prevention—The Best Kind Of Medicine
Medicine has come a long way, but it is still much better to catch any disease as soon as possible. Cancer is no exception to this rule. Many forms of cancers are entirely treatable if you catch them early enough.
For example, if detected early, prostate cancer has an almost 100% 5-year survival rate. That means that every man that catches prostate cancer when it still hasn't spread to other parts of the body will have exactly the same chance to survive the next five years as men who never had cancer in the first place. However, if prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate significantly drops, from 100 to only 30%.
The problem with cancer as a disease is that it can happen to anyone, in just about any part of the body. That doesn't mean you should become paranoid and start getting tested every week. It only means that you should watch your risk factors and that you shouldn't ignore some obvious signs, even when you they might not be that important.
Common Cancer Symptoms—An Incomplete List
The headline is not a joke, as it is virtually impossible to list all cancer symptoms because there are so many different forms of cancer. We will give you some most common symptoms below. If you experience any of those, or more than one, schedule a doctor's appointment, to make sure it's nothing serious:
- Coughing and respiratory issues - If you have a nagging cough that doesn't seem to go away, it's time to visit your doctor. The same goes if you are always short of breath or have problems swallowing, or are coughing up blood.
- Lumps, swelling, spots, moles - If you can feel lumps underneath your skin, or you have unexplained swelling, visit your doctor, even if it's not painful. The same if you have spots, ulcers, wounds, or mouth ulcers that just won't heal. And if you discovered a new mole or changes to old ones in terms of irregular shape, colour, or size, or if you notice ooze or bleeding coming from one of your moles, it is a time to visit for a check up.
- Weight and appetite changes and digestive issues - If you have lost a considerable amount of weight in a short time without major changes to your diet or lifestyle, or if you are suddenly feeling much less hungry than usual without any reason, it is a good idea to consult your physician. The same goes if you experience changes in bowel habits such as diarrhoea, constipation, or digestive discomfort such as heartburn and indigestion—don't ignore these, let your doctor know!
- Any kind of unexpected bleeding - If you notice blood from the vagina, anal passage, your stool, or when you urinate, don't panic, but do call your doctor and get things checked over asap.
- Urination issues - If you are experiencing problems with urination, such as suddenly having to go, going much more frequently, or not being able to urinate when you feel the urge, something might be wrong, and it is best to talk to your physician.
- Breast issues - If one or both of your breasts changed in size, shape, or just feel different, or you notice changes on the skin or experience pain, make sure to get things checked. When detected early, breast cancer survivability rates are very high.
- Pain, discomfort - If you are experiencing any kind of nagging pain or the type of pain that comes and goes for no reason, call your doctor. The same goes if you are experiencing heavy night sweats, or you experience a significant loss of energy, fatigue, and extreme tiredness. While those symptoms don't have to be related to cancer, they certainly point that something is not right, and you should leave that to your doctor.
People, cancer is real, and it can happen to anyone. Yes, it can be deadly, and yes, it is scary. But that doesn't mean you should ignore symptoms
If you experience any symptom from the list above, or any health-related changes that are concerning you, don't wait, visit your doctor immediately. As we said, prevention is critical, and so is catching the disease early, before it spreads.
World Cancer Day 2021 should be a reminder to all of us to schedule an appointment with our GP. After all, we are talking about our own health, and that is something not worth gambling with.