I’m motivated to write on this subject today because someone I know has just discovered they have an abnormal growth that is probably cancer. This person was able to recognize signs and symptoms and discover this growth before it spread to other parts of the body. Early detection of cancer is key, so let us take a moment to review these “red flags”. If you discover any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it best to bring these to the attention of a health care provider. 99.9% of the time they are nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
(this list is adapted from the American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org)
1. Unexplained weight loss or gain – Most of us vary a few pounds from week to week or gain and lose with the seasons, but an unusual 10lb swing one way or the other is a something that needs to be explored further.
2. Fever – Fevers lasting a few days are common with flu and other infections, but one that last beyond those few days can be a sign of cancer, particularly of the blood or immune system.
3. Fatigue – Tiredness that does not improve with adequate rest may be cancer related.
4. Pain – We all have aches and pains from time to time, but pain in an area where you haven’t had injury or a different type of pain than you’ve experienced in the past may be a sign of cancer. Worse pain during the evening is a particular concern.
5. Skin changes – This could be small areas of color change such as in a cancerous mole, or it could be widespread changes in color, dryness, or excessive hair loss or growth.
6. Change in bowel or bladder function – Also check for black streaks in the stool (dried blood) and dark-colored urine (also blood).
7. Sores that do not heal
8. White patches in the mouth or on the tongue
9. Unusual bleeding or discharge
10. Unusual lumps or masses
11. Trouble swallowing
12. Nagging cough or hoarseness
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it covers many of the common signs and symptoms of cancer. If not cancer, these are usually indications that you should be checked out by a health care provider as they could be due to other conditions that should be treated. They are not to be ignored and must be checked out promptly.
(Dr. Touchinsky is a chiropractor in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County . In addition to treating people for neck pain and back pain, he focuses on helping people overcome a variety of health issues through healthy lifestyle and nutritional counseling. If you have an issue you’d like help with or would like a second opinion, call the office at 570-366-2613 to set up an appointment.)
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