Most people when they hear the word cancer associate it with a dangerous disease with a fatal outcome.
But since the 1970s, the survival rate has multiplied by three thanks mainly to early diagnosis.
Three diagnostic tests that could save you from cancer
And it is that, in reality, most cancers are treatable with a favorable outcome for the patient when diagnosed before it has grown too much.
The problem is that many times, for not wanting to bother the doctor or not giving them enough importance, we ignore some symptoms that can be crucial for an early diagnosis.
Many ignore the signs of possible cancer
According to a study carried out by the organization Cancer Research UK, more than half of British people have ever suffered from one of the symptoms that could indicate the presence of cancer, but only 2% thought they could suffer from the disease and more than one third completely ignored the alarms and did not go to the doctor.
Katriina Whitaker, a researcher at University College London and lead author of the research, said: “People think we shouldn’t encourage people to be hypochondriacs, but we have a problem with individuals who are embarrassed to go to the doctor because they think that they are going to waste your time and uselessly waste the resources of the health system”.
“We have to get the message out that if you have symptoms that don’t go away, particularly those that are considered red flags, you shouldn’t ignore them, you should go to the doctor and get help,” she said.
BBC Mundo explains 10 general symptoms of cancer that according to the American Cancer Society you should not ignore.
1. Unexplained weight loss
Most people with cancer experience weight loss at some point.
When weight is lost for no apparent reason, it is called unexplained weight loss.
Unexplained weight loss of 5kg or more may be the first sign of cancer.
This occurs most often with cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung.
Fever is very common in patients who have cancer, although it occurs more often after the cancer has spread from where it started.
Almost everyone with cancer will experience a fever at some point, especially if the cancer or its treatments affect the immune system.
Less often, fever can be an early sign of cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
Tiredness is extreme exhaustion that does not improve with rest.
It can be an important symptom as the cancer progresses.
However, in some cancers, such as leukemia, tiredness may occur early on.
Some colon or stomach cancers can cause blood loss that is not obvious.
This is another way cancer can cause tiredness.
4. Skin changes
Along with skin cancers, some other cancers can cause skin changes that you can see. These signs and symptoms include:
Darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation)
Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
Redness of the skin (erythema). itching (pruritus)
excessive hair growth
5. A change in bowel habit or bladder function
Constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the size of your stool for a long time may be a sign of colon cancer.
On the other hand, pain when urinating, blood in the urine, or changes in bladder function (such as urinating more or less often) may be related to bladder or prostate cancers.
6. Non-healing wounds
Many people know that moles that grow, hurt or bleed can be symptoms of skin cancer, but we should also be on the lookout for small wounds that do not heal for more than four weeks.
A sore in the mouth that does not heal may be due to oral cancer.
Any change in the mouth that lasts for a long time should be seen immediately by a doctor or dentist.
Sores on the penis or vagina could be signs of either an infection or early cancer and should be checked by a health care professional.
Unusual bleeding can occur with early or advanced cancer.
Coughing up blood could be a sign of lung cancer.
On the other hand, if there is blood in the stool (which can be very dark in color) it could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer.
Cervical cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Also, blood in the urine may be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.
A bloody discharge from the nipple may be a sign of breast cancer.
8. Hardening or a mass in any part of the body
Many cancers can be felt through the skin.
These cancers occur mainly in the breasts, testicles, lymph nodes (glands), and soft tissues of the body.
A lump or hardening can be an early or late sign of cancer.
9. Difficulty swallowing
Persistent indigestion or difficulty swallowing may be signs of cancer of the esophagus (the swallowing tube that leads to the stomach), stomach, or pharynx (throat).
However, like most of the symptoms on this list, they are often caused by causes other than cancer.
10. Persistent cough or hoarseness
A persistent cough may be a sign of lung cancer.
It is advisable to visit our doctor if we have been suffering from it for more than three weeks.
Meanwhile, hoarseness can be a sign of cancer of the larynx or thyroid gland.