16 Cancer Warning Signs to Look Out For—Early Detection Can Save Lives!

January 8, 2019 Updated: January 8, 2019

Our bodies are precious vessels that require our attentive care. By listening to our body’s methods of communication through signs and symptoms, early detection and action can help us prevent and treat serious health issues such as cancer.

The American Cancer Society says one should not self-diagnose, though we should listen to what our bodies are telling us. Through paying attention to changes in our body and taking action, treatments are more likely to be successful. By neglecting to act on the warning signs, treatment becomes less likely to succeed.

The National Institutes of Health defines cancer as when “some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.”

Cancerous growths can push on organs, nerves, and blood vessels, causing signs that we ought to watch out for. A list of symptoms compiled by LifeBuzz will help us to know what to look for:

1. Swollen lymph nodes

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Swollen lymph nodes can indicate infection in the body; however, if the swelling persists for an unusually long time, such as four to six weeks, this could indicate a cancerous growth.

2. Changes in skin color that suddenly “appear”

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Take note of red or yellowish blemishes and rashes on the skin, as well as moles, warts, and freckles that grow in size or change color. It can indicate diseases of the liver or the body’s immune system, or some allergic reaction.

3. A perpetual cough

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Pay attention to coughing that seems to be caused by flu or allergies but never goes away. It can indicate some cancerous growth or some chronic inflammation.

4. Lumps

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Watch out for lumps in soft tissue areas, breasts, lymph nodes, and testicles, which may indicate cancer.

5. Weight loss not caused by changes in lifestyle or diet

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Weight loss not caused by a change in diet or amount of exercise is abnormal and should be taken seriously. It can be one of the most important precursor signs of a serious condition like some cancerous growth or infection in the body.

6. Unexplained bleeding or discharge

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Coughing up blood can be an indication of lung cancer. Black or dark stool, or stool with blood in it, can be an indication of colon or rectal cancer, while unexplained vaginal bleeding can signify cervical cancer. Such bleeding can occur during both early and late stages of cancer.

7. Bladder-function changes

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Experiencing pain and discomfort while urinating, or even passing blood, can all signify cancer.

8. Unexplained anemia

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Cancers that cause blood loss may cause what appears to be anemia, which is where the number of red blood cells are reduced.

9. Extreme fatigue

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When the body spends energy trying to fight a cancerous growth, the body may experience tiredness that does not go away. It may also indicate some serious liver condition and should be investigated by seeking medical assistance.

10. Experiencing pain in various parts of the body

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Experiencing pain in various parts of the body can mean the disease is metastasizing from where it started.

11. Persistent unexplained heartburn

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Heartburn that never subsides can indicate ovarian, stomach, and throat cancer.

12. Stomachache and cramping above the navel

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Pain that is localized above the navel might be indicative of stomach cancer.

13. Changes in moles

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Keep an eye out for changes in the size and color of moles and freckles, as it may be melanoma. Once a melanoma has developed, it’s important to have it investigated as soon as possible as some kinds of melanomas can have the ability to spread throughout the body’s organs and become thus extremely serious and hard to cure.

14. Blinding headaches

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Brain tumors may sometimes be identified from blinding headaches, or characterized by dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Visual problems, seizures, weakened limbs, difficulties with speech, and incoherence are all serious warning signs.

15. Abdominal bloating and feeling full

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Unusual bloating or feeling full after just a small meal could indicate stomach cancer.

16. High fever

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High fever always needs to be monitored. The early stages of leukemia and lymphoma are characterized by this symptom.