Many of the symptoms on this list are very common everyday pains and maladies that people without cancer experience. But it is important to be in tune to what your body is telling you, and if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, you should talk to a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is important and it could save your life.
Okay, so pain can have many causes, people have headaches and back aches all the time without any serious health problems. But persistent headaches can be an early sign of brain cancer and back pain can be a sign of rectal or ovarian cancer. If you start experiencing persistent pain, talk to a doctor.
A persistent fever may be an early sign of blood cancers like lymphoma or leukemia. If you experience persistent fever, you should see a doctor, even if it’s not cancer, it’s still an alarming sign.
Constant fatigue that does not get better with rest can be a sign of cancer. This is a tricky one because a lot of people feel fatigue for completely different reasons. But if you start suddenly feeling tired all the time you should check with your doctor to make sure it isn’t something serious.
#5 Unexplained Weight Loss
Weight loss is a good thing, right? Well, not always. If you are losing weight because you are dieting or exercising, it’s great. But if you find yourself losing weight with no change in your habits, this is an unexplained weight loss and it can be associated with several cancers including cancers of the pancreas and stomach.
#6 A Nagging Cough
If you notice a cough or hoarseness that just won’t go away, it could be a sign of lung or larynx cancer. It is more likely that you are experiencing seasonal allergies, but you should check with your doctor just in case.
#7 Indigestion or Trouble Eating
If you are having trouble eating, swallowing, or digesting your food, you may have cancer of the esophagus, or stomach. But don’t worry too much about this one, most people who experience indigestion do not have cancer.
#8 Lumps in the Body
If you find lumps in your skin, it could be a sign of cancer. Be especially wary of lumps on the breast, testicle, or near lymph nodes. Don’t freak out if you find lumps on your arms, legs, or other parts of the body though, they might just be harmless sebaceous cysts.
#9 Unusual Bleeding
If you start experiencing abnormal bleeding, it could be a symptom of cancer. Coughing up blood can mean lung cancer, blood in the stool can mean colon or rectal cancer, blood in urine can mean bladder cancer, persistant vaginal bleeding can mean cervical cancer, and blood discharge from the nipple can mean breast cancer.
#10 Changes in Bladder Function
If you notice pain when urinating, blood in your urine, or other changes, such as needing to go more or less often, these could be symptoms of bladder or prostate cancer. Always share these changes with your doctor.
#11 Changes in Bowel Functions
If you notice a long-term change in your bowel function, like persistent diarrhea or constipation, it may be a symptom of colon cancer. Catching it early with a colonoscopy could save your life.
#12 Sores That Never Heal
If you have a persistant sore or sores that don’t seem to heal, you should get them checked out by a doctor right away. Sores inside the mouth can be signs of an oral cancer, and sores on the skin can be a sign of skin cancer.
#13 Changes on Your Skin
If you notice any changes on a wart or mole on your body, or any other changes on your skin, this could be a sign of melanoma, also known as skin cancer. See a doctor or dermatologist right away, melanoma can be treated easily if it’s detected early.
#14 White Patches Inside Your Mouth
Smokers and tobacco users should be especially wary of this one: sores inside the mouth or on the tongue that don’t go away can be a sign of leukoplakia, which leads to mouth cancer. Bring these to your doctor’s attention if you catch them.
#15 Any Other Major Changes
If you notice any other major changes in the way your body functions or feels, you should see a doctor, especially if the changes persist or get worse. It may not be cancer, but any major change in your body is worthy of concern.