Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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When it comes to beating cancer, early detection is the most powerful weapon you have in your arsenal. However, spotting cancer is often a tall order because the symptoms are often nondescript. Pain typifies the vague nature of cancer symptoms.
Aches and pains are a common occurrence and not usually a sign of something serious.
However, there are specific types of pain that can signal cancer so it’s vital to be clued up.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that cancer pain takes many forms.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “It can be dull, achy, sharp or burning. It can be constant, intermittent, mild, moderate or severe.”
According to the health body, pain can be caused by the cancer itself.
“Pain could happen if the cancer grows into or destroys nearby tissue. As a tumour grows, it can press on nerves, bones or organs. The tumour can also release chemicals that can cause pain.”
The amount of pain you have with cancer depends on a range of factors.
- The type of cancer you have
- Where it is
- The stage of your cancer
- Whether the cancer or treatment has damaged any nerves.
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“Other factors can also affect how you feel pain, such as fear, anxiety, depression and a lack of sleep,” explains Cancer Research UK.
According to the charity, it’s very important to let your medical team know straight away if you have pain.
“Don’t try to put up with it. This can cause nerve changes that could make the pain harder to control in the future.”
General symptoms of cancer
The main red flags to spot include unexplained bleeding, lumps, extreme tiredness and night sweats.
The most important advice? According to Macmillan Cancer Support, “if you notice a change in how you feel or how your body works, it is better to be safe and get it checked”.
The charity continues: “Always see your GP if you have symptoms that are ongoing, unexplained or unusual for you.”
How to reduce your risk
There are proven ways to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer.
According to the NHS, these include:
- Healthy eating
- Taking regular exercise
- Not smoking.
Doctors do not know the exact causes of cancer. But there are risk factors you cannot change that can increase your chance of developing it.
“For most people, increasing age is the biggest risk factor for developing cancer,” says Macmillan Cancer Support.
The charity adds: “In general, people over 65 have the greatest risk of developing cancer. People under 50 have a much lower risk.”
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