Cancer is one of India’s biggest killers - second only to heart disease. A study by Lancet Oncology, one of world's oldest and most prestigious medical journals, finds that the trend in India is reversed - more women than men are prone to getting cancer. Breast cancer is the most common, followed by Cervical and Ovarian cancer.
Early intervention can go a long way in winning the fight against cancer. Here are 11 warning signs to look out for, that can help you detect cancer before it is too late.
Look Out for Any Changes in Your Breasts
Make it a point to regularly inspect your breasts for physical changes like abnormal lumps and dimples. Sudden Nipple discharges and inversions accompanied by redness and scaling can also be telltale signs of breast cancer. Contact a trusted physician as soon as you notice these signs.
Are you experiencing any bleeding outside of your scheduled monthly periods? Let your gynaecologist know immediately. Women with Endometrial cancer diagnoses are known to exhibit symptoms like irregular bleeding, especially after menopause. Other signs of Endometrial cancers can include bleeding during sex and bloody vaginal discharge. Abnormal bleeding is also the starting point of Cervical cancer.
Changes in Your Skin
Melanoma is a cancer of the skin that typically develops around your legs. It can often manifest on your skin in the form of dark, irregularly shaped moles. Make it a habit to regularly examine your skin for new lesions as well as watch out for changes in the shape, size or colour of existing moles as they can be warning signs of melanoma.
Swelling in Your Lymph Nodes
Some cancers can cause swelling in your lymph node glands. These nodes help filter harmful contaminants from your body and can usually swell up as a response to a particular infection. They can also, however, get enlarged due to cancers like Leukemia and Lymphoma. Contact your physician if you notice swelling in areas under your arms, neck and groin. Especially if they refuse to subside in 3-4 weeks.
Difficulties in Swallowing Food
While sporadic issues in swallowing food should not be a major cause of concern. Constant swallowing difficulties coupled with sudden weight loss and frequent vomiting bouts can be an indication of cancer of the throat or stomach.
Weight Loss Without Trying
Are you losing weight without any concentrated efforts to lose weight? Such rapid weight loss can usually be attributed to thyroid problems or high levels of stress and anxiety. It is important to consider getting a cancer checkup in the absence of either as they could be telltale signs of cancers of the lung,stomach and pancreas.
Overindulging in food and alcohol or stressing at work can lead to issues like chronic heartburn. This can sometimes end up becoming a persistent problem that can cause major damage to you inner esophageal lining as well as raise your risk of developing cancers of the throat,stomach and ovaries.
Sores in Your Mouth
Are you a smoker? Look out for sore patches on your lips and around the insides of your mouth as they could be signs of oral cancer. You can tell the difference between a cancerous canker sore or a regular ulcer by the color (white, yellow or red) and shape of the sores (usually have a depression in the middle of the ulcer). Consult your dentist or physician if you find sores that refuse to heal.
Pelvic and Abdominal Pain
Constant pelvic pain coupled with shooting abdominal pains can be telltale signs of ovarian cancer. It is important to note that you can occasionally experience abdominal pains and bloating due to gastrointestinal disorders like indigestion or during menstruation. Consult your physician if your symptoms persist for more than a few weeks.
Blood in the Stool
A common occurrence but do not self-medicate thinking it is just hemorrhoids or constipation. Get your doctor's opinion, especially if you are above 50 years old. This could be a symptom of Colon cancer.
Feeling Constantly Fatigued
This is not the general fatigue at the end of a day but a continuous feeling of exhaustion, across a period of two weeks or more. Consult your doctor and get the necessary tests done immediately. Leukemia, lymphoma, ovarian caner are just some of the common cancers that start to sap your energy levels.