Early detection of cancer is crucial – it increases the chances of treatment being successful, thus giving the patient a much greater quality of life. In order to be able to detect cancer early, it is important to be able to recognize some of the early warning signs.
While the signs and symptoms will vary depending on the type of cancer that is present, below are some of the telltale warning signs that Dr. Ali Ghahary urges patients to watch out for.
Many patients who’ve gone undiagnosed commonly report sudden, unexpected weight loss as being one of the first signs of cancer. This happens as a result of cancer cells attacking the healthy cells in your body. Weight loss is most common in cancer of the pancreas, lung, esophagus and stomach. It is also a common sign of other health conditions, such as gastroenteritis, hyperthyroidism, as well as depression, so it is important for physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary to rule out these and other diseases as a possible cause of weight loss.
This typically occurs in individuals suffering from a viral infection, such as the common cold or flu, but it is also common in individuals with cancer, and may in fact be a sign that the cancer has spread to a different part of the body. Fever normally occurs during later stages of cancer, but it may be an early sign of certain blood cancers such as leukemia, or lymphoma.
A cough is not uncommon if you have a cold or suffer from allergies. However, if you have a persistent cough that does not go away despite trying several medications – both over-the-counter and prescription – this may be an indicator of lung cancer, or even cancer of the thyroid.
If you are in a constant stage of fatigue, this may be a sign of cancer or another underlying health condition. Fatigue is one of the most telltale signs of leukemia, as well as with cancers that cause blood loss.
While pain is a less common symptom of cancer, it may be present if cancer has metastasized or if a tumour is pressing on nerves, bones or other organs. Pain can also be a result of cancer treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Changes of the Skin
If you notice any abnormal lumps on the body, moles that have grown in size, or changes in the colour of your skin, it is important to get checked out by a physician as soon as possible. Types of cancer that can cause these changes include breast cancer, oral cancer, and melanoma.
In certain types of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer, symptoms will oftentimes not be present and will only show up once the cancer has advanced, which is why it is so important to see your physician for regular check-ups so that he or she can refer you for cancer screening and blood tests.
If you have any concerns about your health, Dr. Ali Ghahary is available to see walk-in patents at Brentwood Medical Clinic.