The Surprising Number of Cancer Symptoms Men and Women Ignore

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The Surprising Number of Cancer Symptoms Men and Women Ignore

You often hear about how important early detection is to beating cancer. But why is it so hard to achieve? According to the Science Translational Medicine journal, over 80 percent of cancer patients are diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, when their chances of survival may be less than 20 percent. Tumors can be present in the body for over a decade before they are large enough to be detected by a blood tests, which is why scientists are working hard to improve tests and other detection methods to improve the mortality rate of millions of cancer patients around the world. But patients also have to be diligent about detecting their own symptoms. It can be hard because many cancer symptoms can be indicative of multiple medical conditions, some less serious than others. These are the signs you may need to be tested because something dangerous could be happening in your body.

Signs of Cancer in the Mouth and Lungs

Though it often goes unreported, lung cancer is an extremely common disease and actually the most fatal of all cancers in women. Not only that, the rate of patients who have never smoked is rising. If you’ve never suffered from asthma or respiratory problems and suddenly find yourself struggling to catch your breath, it may be cause for alarm. Throat cancer and thyroid cancer also cause trouble breathing because nodules often press against the windpipe. If you get the feeling of something being stuck in your throat which makes it difficult to breathe, it’s possible you have a cancerous growth in the area. If you have a hard time swallowing, it can also be a result of oral cancer, which can cause swelling and numbness in the mouth and cause irritation in your esophagus.


Stomach and Abdomen Issues

Patients who suffer from sever stomach aches which many doctors misdiagnose as ulcers can have tumors in their liver or signs of colorectal cancer to worry about. Unexplained weight loss can be a sign of many different types of cancer, and women with ovarian cancer often report feeling full when they haven’t eaten. Stomach cancer can also cause bloating and that feeling of false fullness, as well as chronic heartburn and too much acid in your stomach. Problems with constipation and diarrhea that continue for more than a week and have no clear cause can sometimes indicate colon or pancreatic cancers. These symptoms may seem small or common, but any indication that your body is not processing food properly could be something you shouldn’t overlook.

Fever and Fatigue as Signs of Cancer

Abnormalities in your blood can cause frequent fevers and infections that resemble a serious case of the flu and reoccur over time. This can be a sign of leukemia or other cancers and diseases of the blood. If you are diagnosed with anemia, it’s important to also be screened for cancer, because it can often be a result of chronic bleeding caused by tumors or cancerous growths. Severe exhaustion is also a symptom of many kinds of cancer. If you are overwhelmed by tiredness and find doing simple tasks impossible, you may have a serious condition, though you’ll have to look at your fatigue in combination with your other symptoms to help your doctor figure out where to start.

Symptoms of Cancer in Men and Women

Signs of inflammatory breast cancer can often manifest in the skin and nipple. When your breasts resemble cellulite or feel swollen or hot, it can be a serious problem. It’s important to remember that breast cancer also occurs in men, and that both men and women can experience changes in their nipples like inversion, discoloration, or scaly flaking. Women should look for indicators of ovarian and uteran cancer like heavy or especially painful periods, or bleeding in between periods. Many of the symptoms can be misdiagnosed as the start of menopause. Men also have to watch out for prostate cancer indicators, such as impotence or difficult and painful urination. Like most cancer signs, these can indicate almost any type of disease, but it should never be forgotten that some of the potential reasons for these problems can be deadly.

The seemingly innocuous nature of many of these symptoms is part of the reason cancer can go undiagnosed for years. Communicating with your doctor is incredibly important, and you should never go away feeling dismissed when you have the feeling something could be seriously wrong. The right blood tests, like the ones you can order at, are only half the battle when it comes to saving your own life. You cannot always depend on the medical community to do it for you.

Writer Karen Alton is a full-time writer for health blogs. If you want more health advice, check out her recent articles or follow her on Twitter @HTCKarenA.