Here are some of the details of the common cancer symptoms.
Anorexia : Lack or loss of appetite
Anorexia is the lack or loss of appetite. It is a common cancer symptom, occuring in the early stages of the disease which leads to weight loss. The body burns fat and muscle stores instead of calories and nutrients because it does not get the required amount from the food or lack thereof.
Anorexia and subsequent weight loss are very common in cancer patients. While in treatment, there may be a loss of appetite and weight loss due to radiation therapy or chemotherapy as a side effect.
Anorexia may be a result of other physical or psychological causes also.
When the cause of anorexia is cancer, it is due to the change in metabolic rate of the patient. Cancer can also be mentally depressing causing change in eating habits. These changes lead to weight loss.
Memory loss, confusion
Memory is the ability for you to recall or remember information. Memory problems occur when you are having trouble recalling information. Mild memory loss is a part of aging. Memory loss or the reduction in the ability to think can be a cause of cancer or cancer treatment. Memory loss (amnesia) can be caused by brain damage due to disease or injury, or it can be caused by severe emotional trauma. It is important to treat if possible the underlying cause of the memory problems, whether it is due to medications or the disease itself. Loss of memory may last from minutes, to days, or longer.
Persistent cough, blood tinged saliva
Cough is a defensive, protective reflex. It may signal the presence of a problem in the respiratory system and may serve to eliminate the condition, which is stimulating the cough as occurs with an infection. However, when a cough persists and no longer serves this function it becomes a concern to both patient and physician. a persistent cough is a common lung cancer symptom. A persistent cough is a common cancer symptom and should be verified immediately by a qualified doctor.
Coughing up blood is the expectoration or spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs, throat, or mouth. Coughing up blood from the lungs (hemoptysis) is sometimes confused with bleeding from the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract.
They could be symptoms of cancer of your lung, head, and neck. Anyone with a cough that lasts more than a month or with blood in the mucus that is coughed up should see a doctor.
A change in the bowel habits
Changes in bowel habits may include diarrhoea, constipation or both, anything that is abnormal, or which lasts more than two weeks. These changes can be cancer symptoms. You may find yourself going to the toilet more than once a day, and your stools are persistently watery for weeks and months. On the other hand, you find yourself needing to go to the toilet only once every three days. This goes on, for weeks or months. This is called a change in bowel habits, and calls for evaluation by a specialist. The reverse can happen. You may find yourself going to the toilet more than once a day, and your stools are persistently watery for weeks and months. Some patients have “narrowing of stools”. By this, I mean in diameter. This happens when the rectal cancer actually constricts the passage of stools.
Blood in the stool
Finding blood in your stool can be alarming. Often, the underlying cause can be treated or controlled. Even if the condition isn't serious, early diagnosis is essential. Blood in your stools can be caused by various conditions such as constipation, hemorrhoids or infections. It is also a common colorectal cancer symptom. Most colon and rectal cancers begin as small, harmless clumps of cells called polyps. Eventually, some of these polyps may become cancerous. You may notice rectal bleeding, along with a change in bowel habits, narrow stools, abdominal discomfort, a feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely and unexplained weight loss.
Anaemia is a general term meaning a lack of red blood cells in the circulation and there are many possible ways in which anaemia can arise. As red cells have the job of transporting oxygen around the body, anaemia is one of the common causes of breathlessness and tiredness.
Anaemia in cancer patients is multifactorial and may occur due to the direct effects of the cancer cells in the body, or as a result of biologically active products of the cancer cells or even as a consequence of the treatment of cancer. The clinical symptoms of anaemia vary according to the individual's capacity to respond to blood loss or reduced red cell production.
Breast discharge is a common problem and is rarely a symptom of cancer. Discharge is most concerning if it is from only 1 breast or if it is bloody. In any case, all breast discharge should be evaluated.
A woman's breasts have some degree of fluid secretion activity throughout most of the adult life. The difference between lactating (milk producing) and non-lactating breasts is mainly in the degree or amount of secretion and to a smaller degree in the chemical composition of the fluid.
The majority of nipple discharges are associated with non-malignant changes in the breast such as hormonal imbalances. However, any woman with a suspicious or worrisome nipple discharge should consult her physician.
Warning signs : discharge is bloody or watery, sticky and clear, appears spontaneously without squeezing the nipple, persistent and only on one side of the breast.
Lumps in the testicles.
Testicles are oval-shaped, smooth, firm organs about 5cm long, contained in a sac called the scrotum. Testicles produce sperm. Any lumps in the scrotum are potentially serious and need to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Lumps within the testicle or on the testicle’s surface could be cancerous. If the testicle feels enlarged, heavier or harder than previously, it could also suggest cancer. Lumps elsewhere in the scrotum or lumps loosely adjacent to the testicle are more likely to be innocent.
Although testicular cancer is rare, it is not at all uncommon to find a lump in your testicles. There are many conditions that can be easily confused with testicular cancer and are not serious. A proper examination is called for.
A change in urination
Urinary symptoms can include frequent urination, small amounts of urine, and slow urine flow. These symptoms can be caused by urinary infections or, in men, by an enlarged prostate gland. Most men will suffer from harmless prostate enlargement as they age, and often will have these urinary symptoms. These symptoms may signal prostate cancer. Cancer of the bladder and pelvic tumors can also cause irritation of the bladder and urinary frequency.
If you notice a change in urination habits, call your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the chance that treatment will be successful.
Blood in the urine
Hematuria or blood in the urine can be caused by urinary infection, kidney stones, or other causes. For some people, it is a symptom of cancer of the bladder or kidney. Any episode of blood in the urine should be investigated.
Blood in the urine can indicate quite severe problems. Bleeding can arise within the urinary system in areas such as the kidneys, bladder, prostate or other parts of the urinary tract. Blood in urine may appear as reddening or darkened urine or other urine color changes such as smoky, orangish or pinkish hues. Streaks of blood may also appear in the urine. The appearance of blood in the urine or any urine color changes needs prompt professional medical investigation.
Hoarseness is a condition resulting in a rough or harsh sound to the voice. Hoarseness may be caused by many things. Hoarseness may be acute (of short duration) or chronic (of long duration). Hoarseness not caused by a respiratory infection or that lasts longer than 3-4 weeks should be evaluated. Hoarseness can be caused by simple allergy or by vocal cord polyps, but it also could be the first sign of cancer of the throat. Unexplained hoarseness in the voice is ann early symptom of throat cancer.
Persistent lumps or swollen glands
Lumps most frequently represent harmless conditions. But your doctor should examine any new lump or a lump that won't go away. Lumps may represent cancer or a swollen lymph gland related to cancer. Lymph nodes swell from infection and other causes and may take weeks to shrink again. A lump or gland that remains swollen for 3-4 weeks should be evaluated.
Lymph nodes are a part of the immune system. The purpose of lymph nodes is to protect the body from "foreign" invaders. These invaders may be bacteria, viruses, cancer, injury, or other harmful substances. Lymph node swelling may or may not cause pain. Common causes of swollen glands include: colds, throat infections, insect bites and stings, and cancer, such as the cancers of the blood called leukemia and lymphoma. Any other cancer that spreads throughout the body can also cause swollen glands.
Obvious change in a wart or a mole
Multicolored moles that have irregular edges or bleed may be cancerous. Larger moles are more worrisome. Removing a mole is simple. You should remove any suspicious mole. The doctor will send it for examination under a microscope for skin cancer.
Warning signs: Check,
- If the mole look the same in all parts or are there differences.
- If the borders sharp or ragged.
- The colors seen in the mole.
- If the mole bigger than 6mm.
Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
Feeling of pressure in throat or chest which make swallowing uncomfortable. Pressure or feeling full without food or with a small amount of food.
what the person means by difficulty swallowing. For example, a person may feel as though food is "sticking" in the throat or chest. Another individual may also have trouble when he or she starts to swallow. An individual may have pain with swallowing, but be able to swallow without difficulty.
Most people with chronic heartburn do not have serious problems. People who suffer from chronic or lasting symptoms despite using over-the-counter antacids may need to consult with a qualified physician. A condition called Barrett esophagus, which can lead to cancer of the esophagus, can be treated with medication and then monitored by a doctor. Difficulty swallowing is a common problem, especially in the elderly, and has many causes. Swallowing problems need to be investigated, because nutrition is always important. Difficulty swallowing solids can be seen with cancer of the esophagus.
Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
The usual cause of vaginal bleeding is menstruation (the monthly period). However, any vaginal bleeding that is not normal menstrual bleeding or mid- cycle spotting (which often occurs during the first few months of taking the oral contraceptive pill) may be abnormal and must be investigated. This is because it may be a sign of a problem within the vagina, uterus (womb) or ovaries. This includes irregular or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, and any vaginal bleeding in a woman who has passed the menopause.
Unusual vaginal bleeding or bloody discharge may be an early sign of cancer of the uterus. Women should be evaluated when they have bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between periods. Bleeding that comes back, that lasts 2 or more days longer than expected, or that is heavier than usual needs to be evaluated by a qualified physician.
Unexpected weight loss, night sweats, or fever
These nonspecific symptoms might be present with several different types of cancer. Various infections can lead to similar symptoms.
Continued itching in your anus or genitals
Anal itching is a common but annoying problem. It occurs more often in men, and, most of the time, no cause can be identified. Anal itching occurs around and near the anus, which is the opening for the bowels. Numerous factors may cause anal itching to be more intense — including moisture, the abrasion caused by your clothing, and the pressure of sitting. Anal itching is usually most noticeable and bothersome at night or right after a bowel movement.
Precancerous or cancerous conditions of the skin of the genital or anal areas can cause persistent itching. You may notice skin color changes. Several infections or skin conditions also can cause these symptoms.
Non-healing sores, bleeding, pain especially associated with ear pain, or odor need to be examined by your dentist or physician and may require a biopsy to find the diagnosis. If a sore fails to heal, you may have cancer and should see a doctor. Nonhealing sores in your mouth or persistent white or red patches on your gums, tongue, or tonsils are also should raise concerns.
A headache is often the first symptom of a brain tumor, although most headaches are not caused by brain tumors. A headache due to a brain tumor usually recurs more and more often as time passes. It eventually becomes constant without relief. It is often worse when the person lies down and may awaken the person from sleep. A gradually growing tumor causes a headache that typically is worse when the person first awakens. If headaches with these characteristics start in a person who has not had headaches before, a brain tumor may be the cause.
Back pain, pelvic pain, bloating, or indigestion
These are common symptoms of daily life. But they also can be seen in ovarian cancer. This cancer is particularly difficult to treat, because it is frequently diagnosed late in the course of the disease.