One of the most misunderstood things about cancer is that it’s not a single disease, but rather a bunch of different ones. And within that variety of diseases you have a whole slew of different cancer symptoms, some of which can be so subtle they’re overlooked, or worse simply ignored.
Women can often find themselves too busy worrying about—and caring for—others, to pay attention to their own “minor” health complaints. And men are often too busy playing the stoic tough guy to give in to a cough or admit to a twinge or tummy ache.
But this could be a dangerous, or even deadly, mistake. Because after all you are the best judge of whether or not something is wrong with your own body.
Regular doctor visits and tests can only go so far.
Paying attention to your body, and following your gut, could help you spot a subtle, often overlooked cancer symptom long before a test picks up a problem.
And that could mean catching a cancer early and getting ahead of it before real damage is done.
13 often overlooked cancer symptoms
Here are 13 of the most often missed cancer symptoms you shouldn’t ignore:
#1: General weakness or fatigue:
Feeling a bit tired now and then is normal. After all everyone burns the candle at both ends or over commits and overdoes from time to time. And feeling fatigued when that’s the case is to be expected.
But if there’s no clear cause for your exhaustion, or it’s dragging on for a long time, it could be a red flag. This is especially true if this symptom is accompanied by one or more of the others in this list.
#2: Unexpected weight loss:
If you suddenly lose 10 or more pounds when you haven’t been trying to it can be a symptom of certain types of cancers.
Unplanned weight loss often accompanies digestion related cancers including cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach or colon. Unexpected weight loss can also be seen with cancers that have spread to your liver.
#3: Sores that just don’t seem to heal
Skin cancers can often appear like a sore that won’t scab over and heal, or can bleed easily. A sore that won’t heal in the mouth could be a symptom of an oral cancer, especially if you chew tobacco or are a smoker.
#4: Changes in your skin or nails
If you have a freckle, wart or mole than suddenly changes size, shape or color it could be a sign of skin cancer or melanoma. Darkening skin, red skin, or yellow skin and eyes… known as jaundice… are all associated with certain cancers and should be checked out.
White patches or spots inside the mouth or on the tongue can be an early warning sign of an oral cancer.
Unexplained brown or black streaks or dots under your fingernails could be connected to skin cancer. Unusually pale or white nails may be linked to cancer of the liver. And enlarged fingertips with downward growing nail tips may be connected to lung cancer.
#5: Breast or nipple changes
If your breast suddenly feels sore and is swollen and red it could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.
Red or thickened skin on the breast could be a sign of breast cancer.
A nipple that suddenly changes shape flattening out, inverting or turning sideways… or one that has a discharge… could also be a sign of breast cancer.
#6: Nagging cough or chronic hoarseness
If you have a cough that hangs on for a long time and just won’t seem to go away don’t ignore it, it could be a connected to lung cancer.
Thyroid cancer and cancer of the larynx can cause your voice to become hoarse or gravelly sounding.
#7: Sudden changes in toilet habits
Suddenly needing to urinate much more or less frequently—especially if accompanied by blood (or a pink color) in the urine—can be a symptom of both bladder and prostate cancers.
Struggling with diarrhea or constipation that just won’t go away, or a noticeable change in the size of your stool, could indicate rectal or colon cancer.
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool is also linked with colon cancer and should be checked.
#8: Feeling bloated and too full
Suddenly feeling bloated and full even without eating is often reported by women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
If you find you have no appetite and feel full despite skipping meals go get checked out.
#9: Trouble swallowing with or without indigestion
If you’ve noticed that you’re suddenly having trouble swallowing, throat, esophageal stomach or lung cancers could be to blame. This may be accompanied by chronic indigestion.
#10: Pain with no clear cause
Unexplained pain in your legs, arms or other bones may be linked to bone cancer. Pain in your back could be cancer of the colon, ovary or even breast. And for men, pain in the groin area could be from testicular cancer.
#11: Trouble catching your breath or wheezing
Shortness of breath, feeling winded, or wheezing could be connected to lung cancer. If a short walk to the mailbox or around the house makes you feel out of breath it’s a good idea to make an appointment to see the doctor
#12: Unusual bleeding or bruising
Dark tarry bowel movements indicate there’s blood in the stool and can be a sign of colon cancer. Blood in the urine has been linked to bladder and kidney cancers.
Coughing up blood could be connected to lung cancer.
Bloody discharge from a nipple could mean breast cancer. And unusual vaginal bleeding may be linked to cervical or endometrial cancers.
Excessive bruising is often a sign of leukemia.
#13: Frequent infections and fevers
Some cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia can affect your immune system making it more difficult for your body to fight off infections. If you’re catching every bug, cold and flu you come in contact with it could be a cancer red flag.
“I’ve got some of these “cancer” symptoms, now what?!?!”
If you have one or more of these symptoms first things first, don’t panic.
While they can be useful tools for catching a cancer in its earliest stages, having one or more does NOT mean you definitely have cancer.
After all, if you’re getting sick a lot it could very well just be because you’re running yourself ragged and need to slow down. A persistent cough could be nothing more than a case of bronchitis. And sometimes indigestion really is JUST indigestion.
Recognizing you have one or more of these symptoms simply means you should make an appointment to discuss it with your doc.
If you don’t have cancer a naturopathic integrative medicine doctor can help you come up with a plan to reduce your risks of ever getting it. And if it turns out you did spot a case of cancer early that’s actually great news because a naturopathic doctor can discuss your options for tackling it BEFORE it spreads.
And you’ll have lots of options, ranging from the dynamic cancer fighting duo of quercetin and resveratrol to the powerful cancer killing punch of intravenous vitamin C.
Be sure to share this important information with those that you care about (there are easy to use buttons above to email it or share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc…) it very well could save their life!
We believe that everyone has good ideas about how best to care for our loved ones and ourselves. Many of our contributors are doctors that have spent their life’s work invested in the health and well being of the human body and mind. Some have spent their lives tirelessly researching health and the human body, developing new vitamins and products dedicated to making people healthier.
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