Depending on the type of cancer and the part of the body that has been affected, symptoms vary. For instance, coughing, difficulties in breathing or chest pains may link to lung cancer, whereas diarrhea, bloodstained stool, and constipation may be associated with colon cancer. However, it is important to note that not all cancers show symptoms. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, will only cause symptoms during its advanced stages. But there are other symptoms that are commonly associated with most cancers and they include:
In general, some symptoms are shared between all types of cancer, such as unexplained fever, fatigue with no specific reason, unintentional weight loss, and excessive night sweating. These symptoms indicate the overuse of the body’s energy resources due to the uncontrolled overgrowth of the cancerous cells.
Every type of cancer can produce its own range of symptoms; for example, pancreatic cancer may lead to yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes while colon cancer is usually associated with changes in the bowel habits especially alternating diarrhea and constipation.
Some types of cancerous cells can produce toxic substances which in turn cause different symptoms. For instance, some types of lung cancer can produce toxic substances that cause elevation in the calcium level in the blood leading to different problems in the nerves and muscles.
It’s well-known that the earlier the cancer is discovered, the better the outcome will be! It’s much better to diagnose cancer while it is small in size and has not yet spread because the chances of full recovery by surgery alone is much higher than diagnosing cancer in the late stages.
It’s important to know the general symptoms of cancer, but one needs to remember that those symptoms are general and they can be symptoms of any illness; they are not specific for cancer, so don’t panic. Contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Most cancer patients lose weight for unknown reasons. If is significant you lose more than 10 pounds in less than a month while you are not on diet and there is no good reason to explain the loss. This is especially true with lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.
Many patients with cancer experience fever for unknown reasons. The presence of fever usually indicates the spread of cancer; fever is usually a late symptom of cancer. Some cancers such as leukemia (blood cancer) and lymphoma (lymph node cancer) may cause fever in early stages.
Cancer can produce this symptom in two ways; either by consuming the body’s energy while growing quickly or by causing insensible blood loss; for example in colon cancer when patient is losing blood via the stool.
Pain can be an early symptom, such as with bone cancer, or it can be a late symptom that indicates metastasis of cancer. For example, back pain may be due to metastatic cancer in the colon, rectum, breast, or ovary.
Abnormal changes maybe present with skin cancer or with any metastatic cancer of the skin. Those changes include: