The Seven Warning Signs of Cancer

Medically Reviewed on 8/13/2020
Knowing the early symptoms of cancer helps for diagnosis and treatment
Knowing the early symptoms of cancer helps for diagnosis and treatment

The seven common warning signs of cancer include:

  • Sudden weight loss in a short time.
  • Change in bowel or bladder habits: Sudden onset of loose motions or constipation. Stomach, pancreatic, colon and ovarian cancers may change the bowel and bladder habits in an individual. 
  • A sore that does not heal: A sore/wound that does not heal is a warning sign of cancer. The sore may get bigger, have unusually shaped border and crusts or have scabs over the sore with a foul-smelling discharge.
  • Unusual bleeding: Blood when passing urine or stools may be a warning sign of kidney, bladder and intestine cancers.
  • Breast lump or thickening: Any mass or growth in the breasts or elsewhere should be investigated. Sometimes, the lump may be painful and contain blood or fluid.
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing: A constant feeling of having a lump in the throat or difficulty in swallowing needs to be investigated.
  • Extreme fever with night sweats not responding to medications.
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness: It may be a potential symptom of lung disease along with or without chest pain, weight loss, hoarseness, fatigue and shortness of breath.

What are the most common cancers?

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. The most common cancers include:

How cancer is usually treated?

The most common treatments for cancer include:

Surgery: It is usually used to remove the cancerous cells from the body. The surgeon might also remove some or all of the body part that is affected by cancer. For breast cancer, part (or all) of the breast might be removed. For prostate cancer, the prostate gland might be taken out. Surgery is not used for all types of cancers. For example, blood cancers like leukemia are best treated with drugs.

Chemotherapy: These are drugs to kill fast-growing cells or slow their growth. These drugs can be given through IV (into a vein through a needle) or as an oral pill. Chemo drugs travel to all parts of the body through the blood and are especially useful for aggressive cancers.

Radiation: This method is also used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. It can be used alone or with surgery or chemotherapy. Sometimes, it’s given by placing a “seed” inside the cancer which gives off radiation and blasts the cancerous cells. 

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Medically Reviewed on 8/13/2020
References
7 Warning Signs of Cancer: (https://www.afro.who.int/news/7-warning-signs-cancer)