Every sixth death in the world is caused by some form of cancer. In the United States alone, over 600,000 people succumb to cancer every year. So it’s no wonder that cancer is an ever-present health concern for many people.
Because of how many forms of cancer the human body can be afflicted by, it’s difficult for people to identify all the warning signs of cancer.
Oftentimes, cancer’s slow growth may mean the are overlooked or explained away by people who may be suffering from the disease and not be aware of it yet.
That being said, there are a few warning signs for cancer that are important for everyone to keep an eye out for, no matter your age, sex, or current health. Here are seven warning signs of cancer:
A change in your bowel or bladder habits
Your bowel and bladder are heavily affected by what you consume and how you’re feeling. They are a huge indicator of overall health and can often be one of the first places people notice symptoms of cancer.
While a minor change attributed to different eating habits, supplements, or travel is nothing to be concerned, ongoing changes to your bladder or bowel habits could indicate something is going wrong in your body.
A mole that changes shape and color
Skin cancer can be insidious and can quickly spread from the epidermis to other organs if not caught in time. This is why it’s important to do consistent mole checks and keep an eye on moles you currently have.
If you see a mole changing its size, its edges become irregular or ragged, the color-changing, or the mole having two colors, you should get into a doctor to have it examined for signs of melanoma or other skin cancers.
A sore that won’t heal
Cancer is the unchecked replication of normal cells in the human body that, when growing out of control and without purpose, cause tumors. Because of this behavior, one of the earliest signs of cancer is in a sore that won’t heal.
If you notice a small wound that crusts over but always reopens or always seems to be raw, it might be cancerous. Keep an eye on it, takes notes, and then go see a doctor.
Unusual bleeding or discharge
Feminine cancers such as uterine or cervical cancer present very few symptoms, which is why women have to vigilant about monitoring their health. If you notice unusual bleeding, bleeding after intercourse, or strange discharge, it’s important to visit a gynecologist to investigate the cause.
A cough or hoarseness you can’t shake
Cancers of the throat, tongue, and lungs can be extremely aggressive. If you notice that you have a cough unrelated to an upper respiratory illness, or hoarseness in your voice that continues to come back or never goes away, you should see a doctor.
This is doubly important if you currently smoke or have smoked in the past since the chances of developing lung, throat or tongue cancers are much higher among smokers.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to get as much information as you can about the type of cancer you have and act quickly. Survival rates for cancer continue to rise as treatments advance.
Oncologists are vigilant for signs of cancer and see cancer treatment technologies that most of us are unaware exist.
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