Seven women die of cervical cancer every hour, 200 people die from oral cancer every day and more than 87,000 Indian women die of breast cancer every year. One in 10 Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime. (source: Globocan) Even though these statistics paint a grim picture, treatment has become really advanced today. However, on the bright side almost all cancers, when detected early, are treatable and curable. Some cancers can develop without any signs and symptoms too. And sometimes the symptoms we think are cancerous could be false alarms. The disease has no specific set of symptoms, so if you notice anything unusual about the way your body is behaving then your doctor should be able to point you in the direction of suitable cancer screening tests.
The best way to beat cancer is by preventing it and paying attention to the early warning signs. With a little bit of awareness about the symptoms, you can stay two steps ahead. If caught early, your treatment could potentially cure your cancer and save your life. So it would be wise to arm yourself with the knowledge of the signs and symptoms that might point towards cancer. Today people are living better lives than ever thanks to early cancer detection and advanced treatments. This might be our new normal but it is the same old cancer. You can also learn more about Covid-19 and Cancer on the Indian Cancer Society website.
Here’s how you can spot the early signs and symptoms of Cancer:
1) Ulcers in the mouth
If you smoke, chew tobacco and consume alcohol it is possible you might notice red or white patches or sores in your mouth. The thing to note here is if it doesn’t heal for a long time, you might need to check for oral cancer.
2) Lumps in the body
Cancer lumps don’t always hurt, but if you notice a lump on any part of your body that is growing in size; you need to get yourself checked. Some of these lumps might be fluid-filled cysts or noncancerous tumours too.
3) Unexplained bleeding
Bleeding without any reason shouldn’t be ignored. If you bleed outside of menopause or normal periods it could mean cervical or endometrial cancer. Discharge of fluids or blood from the nipples could mean breast cancer.
4) Change in warts and moles
Call your doctor if you notice your moles or warts have grown in size, changed in colour or have jagged and irregular borders.
5) Sore throat, persistent cough or difficulty in swallowing
A persistent cough, sore throat and difficulty in swallowing could all be potential symptoms of lung cancer. If you also experience chest pains coupled with shortness of breath see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are a smoker.
6) Change in toilet habits
Constipation, diarrhoea or blood in the stool is cause for concern. You will need a colonoscopy or other tests to get to the root of the problem. Another sign to keep an eye on is if you experience pain while passing urine, or spot blood in your urine. All these could be signs of prostate or bladder cancer.
7) Appetite loss
Many factors can contribute to you feeling a loss in appetite. But cancer can affect your metabolism and the way your body turns food into energy. Some other types of cancers might make you always feel too full to eat.
8) Extreme fatigue
This kind of fatigue doesn’t get better with any amount of rest. This disease uses the body’s nutrients to grow to cause a severe lack of these nutrients that allow us to stay healthy. However, there can be many causes for fatigue, it is best to check with your physician.
9) Unexplained weight loss
If you happen to lose 10 to 20 kgs over a span of a month without working out this could be cause for concern and you should check in with your doctor.
If you spot any of these above signs make sure to check in with your doctor immediately. These are early warning signs that can indicate cancer and getting them checked right away will prove to be prudent.
This post is in partnership with Indian Cancer Society.