Know these signs before it's too late...
Cancer is a terrible disease that can afflict anyone at any time. While many children suffer from the disease (approximately 165,000 known cases in children under 15 in 2012) and others are tragically already born with it, in general, the risk of getting some form of cancer goes up with age, which makes it increasingly important to be aware of the signs and symptoms—and go for medical checkups—as we get older. With the advances of modern medicine today, many forms of cancer are highly treatable if not completely curable, so discovering that you have cancer as soon as possible is key for survival.
One problem though is that some symptoms of cancer, like headaches or sore joints and muscles, are often mistaken for other, less serious ailments. With more than 100 types of cancer known today, nearly any organ or tissue in the body could be susceptible to the disease. Naturally, this can make it even more difficult to find, diagnose, and treat without the proper warning signs or medical care. While some types of cancer can be brought on by things under our own control, such as smoking, excessive drinking, exposure to the Sun, diet and obesity, lack of exercise, or living in polluted environments, many cancers happen genetically or even randomly as cells begin to mutate on their own.
That being said, regular screenings, being aware of unexpected changes in your body, and understanding the commonly missed symptoms while living a healthy lifestyle are the best things you can do for yourself. Do you think your symptoms or moods are from cancer or from another ailment? Learn the difference; it might just save your life.
Persistent extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest can be an important early indicator of various types of cancers. Normal fatigue is something that happens to tons of people around the globe every day, but sometimes it can feel a little bit different.
If you find yourself feeling tired, and it’s a persistent fatigue that doesn’t really go away, that’s a bad sign. This is especially the case when it keeps coming back or starts to feel more severe. You might feel weak or incredibly tired when it isn’t related to any specific physical activity. Your arms and legs will feel heavy to move, almost like you’ve just gone for a long run. You may even find that sleep doesn’t help.
But cancer-related fatigue doesn’t only occur in the way normal fatigue does. Other indications are that you feel less energetic about things you used to be passionate about, or that you even put less effort into day-to-day tasks, even ones as simple as getting dressed or looking your best. This exhaustion can also leave you emotionally drained and feeling frustrated or irritated more often than usual.
This fatigue can be a pretty serious sign of different cancers like leukemia. Others, like colon or stomach cancers, can cause internal blood loss which can also cause fatigue. Believe or not, many people have considered cancer-related fatigue to be the most frustrating side effect of cancer as it often took the largest toll on their daily lives.
When it comes to esophageal cancer, one of the biggest symptoms is having problems swallowing. This could present itself in a few ways, but it might feel like there is food stuck in your throat or farther down in your chest. At times, you might even feel like you’re actually choking on food. The medical term for this kind of trouble swallowing is “dysphagia.”
When swallowing becomes more difficult, people tend to change their diet and eating habits even if they don’t realize they’re doing it. If you find yourself taking smaller bites and chewing your food up more without even thinking about it, this could be a bad sign, especially when you pair it with trouble swallowing. You might even be avoiding meats or bread as these foods are prone to getting stuck more often.
As the cancer grows, the problem gets worse. While symptoms like indigestion or trouble swallowing from a sore throat can be signs of much less serious conditions, they also can be indicators of stomach, esophageal, or throat cancer.
The best way to think about it is that indigestion is very common and has several causes, but if you are suffering from indigestion that lasts for more than three weeks, something is probably up. Even if it’s not cancer, you should go to your doctor to see if something else is wrong. Feeling easily full or ill after eating are common early signs of cancer.