World Cancer Day was created to empower on a global scale. The theme this year is “I am and I will.” To help raise awareness, partake in the online conversation by sharing your story and your commitment. Use the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #CancerAwareness to spread your message further.
Why awareness is needed
Well, four out of ten cancers could be prevented. Some of the ways to prevent cancer include not smoking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, keeping active and keeping out of the sun.
There are also several signs to look out for, and by spreading the word, you may not only save your own life but that of a loved one. It’s important to remember that cancer is a word, not a sentence.
It is never too late to educate yourself about the risks. Let’s look at some tell-tale signs to look out for.
Loss of appetite
According to WebMD, this symptom could manifest in all genders. Stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancers could change the body’s metabolism and make you feel too full to eat.
Loss of sensation
We all get that tingling “pins and needles feeling” when your foot “falls asleep,” and it is quite normal. But when that feeling continues for an extended period of time, it’s time to go for a checkup.
According to Cancer Centre, a loss of sensation in any body part could be a sign of a tumour near the cerebrum, spinal cord or nerve channels. It may also be coupled with coordination impairments in the arms and/or legs.
While an unexpected weight loss might initially be a cause to celebrate, it could also be caused by conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes and cancer, especially a sudden loss of 4.5 kg or more.
The American Cancer Society reports that sudden weight loss could be a sign of stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer or pancreatic cancer.
Colon cancer causes rectal bleeding, and tell-tale signs would be black stool or blood in the urine. According to the American Cancer Society, the feeling that you need a bowel movement that isn’t relieved is also a sign to look out for.
Colorectal cancer is increasing in younger patients. When found early, the survival rate is approximately 90% because the spread of cancerous cells can be stopped through treatment. Survival rates are lower if it spreads outside the colon.
Pain and fatigue
Unexplained fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of cancer, especially if the tiredness doesn’t go away. On the other hand, back pain could be a sign of colon cancer, prostate cancer or ovary cancer.
The ACS reports that ovarian cancer can also start to form in the fallopian tubes, as well as on the outer surface of the ovaries. It can either be benign, borderline or malignant. Prostate cancer develops from the gland cells and can develop in younger men as well.
A rare symptom but it could be a sign of breast cancer or skin cancer. The lumps can be felt from outside the body and areas to check regularly include the breasts, testicles, neck, arms and legs.
With breast cancer, lumps will form to the side of the breast, under the breast or under the arm. However, other signs to look out for include nipple discharge, dimpling, redness, nipple retraction and swelling, according to Medical News Today.
Difficulty swallowing could be linked to throat cancer or lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Other symptoms could include a pressure in the throat or a hoarse voice.
Hiccups, a chronic cough, vomiting, bone pain and bleeding into the esophagus – which results in the stool to turn black – are all warning signs.
A lingering cough, wheezing
One of the first signs to look out for here is the inability to catch your breath, or a whistling noise while breathing. While coughs and wheezing could be symptoms of bronchitis or pneumonia, it could also be a tell-tell sign for lung cancer.
Apart from lung cancer, difficulty breathing could also be due to thyroid cancer, especially if it’s paired with throat pain, according to Medical News Today.
The information in this article is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Before deciding on any course of treatment, please consult with your doctor or other qualified health care professional.