Given that over seven and a half million people will die from cancer this year, it’s natural for dread to take a place in the back of many people’s minds, especially if there are risk factors already present.
The Grim Fact is That Many People Will Discover Cancer This Year.
Here are some early warning signs that you should not ignore; if something doesn’t feel “right” or “normal” to you, your body is trying to tell you something. If there is cancer, the sooner it’s detected, the better the odds that it can be effectively treated.
Better a visit to the doctor to find nothing than not going and later finding serious illness that requires more drastic treatment and potentially higher mortality.
1. Increased Fatigue.
We know what normal tiredness feels like–even if we’re going through a particularly stressful time and getting less sleep than usual, we can tell that we’re just tired. If you experience chronic fatigue over time, however, it’s an indication that something is wrong. If you can’t make it through a day without a long nap or feel that you are simply without energy for a few weeks without let-up, there may be cause for concern.
When cells begin to multiply abnormally, the immune system immediately goes into overdrive to fight them; you’re working hard without even knowing it. Leukemia, colon, and stomach cancers can manifest early in fatigue; some colon and stomach cancers begin with internal bleeding which would also cause exhaustion.
2. Low-Grade Fever That Lingers.
A fever–even a low-grade one–is a sign of infection. When your immune system is fighting off an intruder of any kind, heat is generated and body temperature will rise.
If the fever lasts longer than 3 or 4 days and isn’t accompanied by any other usual symptoms of virus or bacterial infection, it’s wise to see your healthcare provider. Fever can be an early sign of lymphomas and leukemia as well as other serious conditions like urinary tract infection and tuberculosis.
3. Problems with Swallowing.
Any persistent pain or tightness in your mouth or throat may be an indication of early cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus. Some symptoms of thyroid disease include tightness of the neck and a hoarse voice as well.
Lip sores that don’t heal, a sore throat that lasts longer than a week or that recurs, and consistent hoarseness of the throat can indicate a problem.
Of course, unexplained bleeding of any kind is cause for alarm–don’t wait to be examined. Regular use of tobacco–whether smoked or chewed–greatly increases your risk for cancers of the mouth and esophagus.
4. Unexplained Weight Loss.
Significant loss of weight without any conscious changes to diet and/or activity level is cause for a visit to your healthcare provider. When the immune system is using a great deal of energy fighting the proliferation of abnormal cells (cancer), you may notice loss of weight.
Often weight loss is accompanied by loss of appetite–you just don’t feel like eating. Put the two together and fat starts to get burned. A rule of thumb for significant (unintentional/unexplained) loss of weight is ten pounds or five percent of your body weight over six to twelve months. Certainly, if there are any other symptoms of something out of the ordinary, do have yourself checked.
Diligence and action can save your life.