How to know Cancer Warning Signs

How to know Cancer Warning Signs

Best ways to know Cancer Warning Signs

Table of content

Overview on Cancer warning signs

Scientists and Researchers have made a lot of findings in the fight against cancer. with that, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) made an estimates that there will be more cases of 1,735,350 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2018.

Globally, cancer is also one of the main causes of premature death in humans.

Most times it can develop without giving any sign or warning. But the majority of cases usually have warning signs. The earlier it is being detected, the better the chances of one surviving.

Most common cancers

According to the NCI, the following cancers are the most prevalent in the United States, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers:

  • bladder cancer
  • breast cancer
  • colon and rectal cancer
  • endometrial cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • leukemia
  • liver cancer
  • lung cancer
  • melanoma
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • pancreatic cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • thyroid cancer

Breast and lung cancer are the most common of these, with over 200,000 Americans diagnosed each year. In comparison, there are fewer than 60,000 new cases of liver, pancreatic, or thyroid cancer each year.

Millions of people are actually diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancer each year, making it the most common cancer in the country. However, healthcare providers aren’t required to submit information about it to a cancer registry, making the exact number of cases harder to pinpoint.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell cancer (SCC) are the two types of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Nonmelanoma skin cancer is rarely fatal, resulting in fewer than 0.1 percent of cancer deaths each year.

The precise symptoms can vary between forms of cancer. Furthermore, some cancers, such as those of the pancreas, may not cause symptoms right away.

Still, there are some telltale signs to look out for.

Weight loss

As cancer cells attack healthy ones, your body may respond by losing weight.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), many people unexpectedly lose 10 pounds or more prior to their cancer diagnosis. In fact, this may be the very first sign of cancer.

Unexplained weight loss can be caused by other health conditions, such as hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). The difference with cancer is that weight loss can come on suddenly. It’s most prominent in cancers of the:

  • esophagus
  • lung
  • pancreas
  • stomach


Fever is the body’s response to an infection or illness. People who have cancer will often have a fever as a symptom. It’s usually a sign that the cancer has spread or that it’s in an advanced stage.

Fever is rarely an early symptom of cancer, but it may be if a person has a blood cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma.

Blood loss

Some cancers may also cause unusual bleeding. For instance, colon or rectal cancer might cause bloody stools, while blood in the urine may be a symptom of prostate or bladder cancer. It’s important to report such symptoms or any unusual discharge to your doctor for analysis.

Blood loss may be more discreet in stomach cancer, as it may be internal bleeding only and harder to detect.

Pain and tiredness

Unexplained fatigue may be another symptom of cancer. It’s actually one of the most common symptoms. Tiredness that doesn’t seem to go away despite adequate sleep could be a symptom of an underlying health problem — cancer is just one possibility.

Tiredness is most prominent in leukemia, according to the ACS. Fatigue can also be related to blood loss from other cancers.

In some cases, cancer that’s spread, or metastasized, can cause pain. For example, back pain may be present in cancers of the:

  • colon
  • prostate
  • ovaries
  • rectum

Persistent cough

Cough can occur for any number of reasons. It’s your body’s natural way of getting rid of unwanted substances. Colds, allergies, the flu, or even low humidity can lead to a cough.

When it comes to lung cancer, however, the cough can persist for a long time despite remedies. The cough may be frequent, and it can cause hoarseness. As the disease progresses, you may even cough up blood.

A persistent cough is also sometimes a symptom of thyroid cancer.

Skin changes

Skin changes are most often linked to skin cancer, where moles or warts change or enlarge. Certain skin changes may also indicate other forms of cancer.

For instance, white spots in the mouth can indicate oral cancer. Lumps or bumps underneath the skin can be tumors, such as in breast cancer.

Cancer can cause other skin changes, such as:

  • increased hair growth
  • hyperpigmentation, or dark spots
  • jaundice, or yellow eyes and skin
  • redness

Skin changes due to skin cancer may also include sores that either don’t go away or sores that heal and return.

Changes in digestion

Certain cancers can result in problems with eating, such as difficulty swallowing, changes in appetite, or pain after eating.

A person with stomach cancer may not have many symptoms, especially early on. However, the cancer can cause symptoms such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and bloating.

Trouble swallowing can be linked to different cancers of the head and neck, as well as esophageal cancer.

However, it isn’t only cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that can cause these symptoms. Ovarian cancer can also be associated with bloating or a feeling of fullness that won’t go away. Nausea and vomiting can also be a symptom of brain cancer.

Night sweats

Night sweats are more intense than lightly sweating or feeling too warm. They typically cause you to be drenched in sweat. Like other previously mentioned symptoms, night sweats can occur for a number of reasons unrelated to cancer.

However, night sweats can also be linked to the earlier stages of several cancers, ranging from leukemia to lymphoma to liver cancer.

Cancers with no warning signs

While many cancers have symptoms, some forms are more discreet.

Pancreatic cancer may not lead to any signs or symptoms until it’s progressed to an advanced stage. A family history, as well as frequent pancreatic swelling, may increase your risk. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend regular cancer screenings.

Some cases of lung cancer may only result in subtle signs and symptoms outside of the well-known cough. Certain types may cause increased blood calcium levels, a symptom which may not be detected without lab work.

Kidney cancer, especially in its earlier stages, is another type that may not cause notable symptoms. Larger or more advanced kidney cancer may lead to symptoms such as pain on one side, blood in the urine, or fatigue. However, these symptoms are often the result of other benign causes.


According to the NCI, 609,640 people were estimated to die from cancer in 2018. Men are more likely than women to have a fatal case. At the same time, the AC. estimates that over 20 million people are expected to survive cancer by 2026.

The key to surviving cancer is to take charge of your health. Be sure not to miss out on your annual checkups, and make sure you do all screenings as recommended by your doctor — this is especially important if certain cancers run in your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fatigue or extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest. Skin changes such as a lump that bleeds or turns scaly, a new mole or a change in a mole, a sore that does not heal, or a yellowish color to the skin or eyes (jaundice).
Possible signs and symptoms of cancer in young adults. But it’s important to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of cancer. These can include: An unusual lump or swelling, especially in the neck, breast, belly, or testicle. Unexplained tiredness and loss of energy.
The Two-Week Wait appointment system was introduced so that anyone with symptoms that might indicate cancer could be seen by a specialist as quickly as possible. Attending this appointment within two weeks is vitally important and will allow you to benefit from: Early reassurance that cancer has not been diagnosed.
Sometimes, a cancer diagnosis comes out of the blue, with no symptoms at all. But more often, there are various symptoms that may be warning signs of the disease. Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Anne Marie Lennon, M.D., Ph. D. , wants you to pay attention to your body.
If you’re wondering how long you can have cancer without knowing it, there’s no straight answer. Some cancers can be present for months or years before they’re detected. Some commonly undetected cancers are slow-growing conditions, which gives doctors a better chance at successful treatment.
Cancer is caused by certain changes to genes, the basic physical units of inheritance. Genes are arranged in long strands of tightly packed DNA called chromosomes. Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.
People with cancer might describe it as feeling very weak, listless, drained, or “washed out” that may decrease for a while but then comes back. Some may feel too tired to eat, walk to the bathroom, or even use the TV remote. It can be hard to think or move.
Some people in the advanced stages of cancer may feel or be sick a lot. This type of sickness is very different to that of people having chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It can severely affect your day to day life and make you very tired and depressed.
Most blood tests aren’t used on their own to diagnose cancer. But they can provide clues that may lead your health care team to make the diagnosis. For most types of cancer, a procedure to remove a sample of cells for testing is often needed to be sure.
You’re more likely to get cancer as you get older. In fact, age is the biggest risk factor for the disease. More than nine out of 10 cancers are diagnosed in people 45 and older. Seniors older than 74 make up almost 28% of all new cancer cases.
In most cases, doctors need to do a biopsy to diagnose cancer. A biopsy is a procedure in which the doctor removes a sample of tissue. A pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope and runs other tests to see if the tissue is cancer.
What is an urgent suspected cancer referral? Your GP, nurse or dentist has arranged for you to have tests or see a hospital doctor (specialist). This is to investigate your symptoms, find out what is wrong and if it could be cancer.
FatigueLump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin. Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain. Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles.
Is it hypochondriasis (Illness Anxiety Disorder) or OCD? When you’re constantly worried that you might have cancer, there’s a possibility that it could be a sign of OCD or illness anxiety disorder.
Imaging tests used in diagnosing cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound and X-ray, among others. Biopsy. During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory.
Cancer pain can be described as dull aching, pressure, burning, or tingling. The type of pain often gives clues about the sources of the pain. For example, pain caused by damage to nerves is usually described as burning or tingling, whereas pain affecting internal organs is often described as a sensation of pressure.
The main reasons are genetics and certain environmental or behavioral triggers. The tendency to develop some types of cancer is believed to be inherited — that is, the genes you were born with might carry a predisposition for cancer.
These include using tobacco and alcohol, being overweight, and getting multiple sunburns. Other risk factors cannot be avoided, such as getting older. Learn about the risk factors for certain types of cancer.
The incidence rates for cancer overall climb steadily as age increases, from fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in age groups under age 20, to about 350 per 100,000 people among those aged 45–49, to more than 1,000 per 100,000 people in age groups 60 years and older.
You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, and protecting your skin.
Fatigue can be caused by cancer itself or the side effects of treatments. Fatigue is when you feel very tired or exhausted most, or all, of the time. Nine out of ten people with cancer (90%) experience fatigue and it affects everyone differently.
When cancer spreads, it’s called metastasis. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form new tumors in other parts of the body. Cancer can spread to almost anywhere in the body. But it commonly moves into your bones, liver, or lungs.
Fatigue may develop as a symptom of blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, because these cancers start in the bone marrow, which produces red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.

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