Early Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer
Monitoring and controlling different early-stage signs of cancer can decide how far and intense your fight for cancer can get. The signs can be as common as fatigue and weight loss, which are often treated for different conditions. While most of the symptoms are common, you should keep a close watch on the frequency of their occurrence. If such symptoms persist for a long period, it is advisable to consult a medical specialist.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer In Men
One in 5 men are prone to develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 8 die from it. From sedentary lifestyles, stress and unhealthy food preferences, to casual habits like smoking, the risk of cancer especially among men is increasing. One solution to keep this in control is to continuously assess and monitor the health related issues. This can help in detecting cancer early before it spreads to other parts of the body, and follow suitable treatment options to eradicate it.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer In Women
On average, more than 90% of women who are diagnosed with early stage cancer survive at least 5 years as compared to a 10% survival rate when diagnosed at advanced stages. Early detection of cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment. Detecting it early can lead to early diagnosis, which is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin.
Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
Early detection plays a vital role in the timely treatment of breast cancer. In the early stages, the disease is at lesser progression; the tumors are small and usually have not spread to nearby organs. In such situations, the right treatment will lead to better outcomes.
Common breast cancer signs and symptoms:
- A painless breast lump
- Bloody discharge from the nipples
- Redness of breast in non-lactating women
- Nipple retraction (nipple turning inward)
- Skin irritation or ‘dimpling’
- Unilateral scaliness, redness, or thickening of the nipple or the skin on breasts
- A lump in the underarm area
In most of patients, a lump in the breast is the first sign of a cancer risk. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges, has a higher chance of being cancerous. In some cases, however – cancerous lumps may also present as tender, soft and rounded. Hence, it is essential that any unusual changes, if noticed, are pointed out to a doctor and checked at the earliest.
How to check breasts for unusual changes?
Checking breasts for unusual changes do not need exceptional skills or medical training. However, each pair of breast is unique, so it is essential to establish what is ‘normal’ – that is, how your breasts look and feel under normal circumstances, which will make it easier to spot any new or unusual change.
The only way to establish ‘normalcy’ is by checking breasts regularly, following a TLC protocol – Touch, Look, Check.
When monitoring for signs of breast cancer, it is important to check:
- The entire breast area
- The complete upper chest area
- Armpits (underarm area, this is where lymph nodes are)
Touch (palpation): The first signs of change might not be visible, but can be felt. When you touch your breasts, can you feel a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or the underarm area? You might feel the lump, but not see it.
Look: Some changes will become apparent after you review them in a mirror. Do you notice any difference in the shape or texture of your breasts, the skin around the breasts, nipple, or underarm area? Do you see any unusual discharge from the breasts?
Check: Whenever you feel or see something unusual in the breast area, armpits or the upper chest area as compared to your regular self-examinations, it is best to contact a general practitioner (GP) immediately, and wait for their medical opinion on the issue.
How frequently should breast exams be performed?
A self-breast examination should be performed in good light, and while standing in front of a mirror. A self-breast examination should be performed only once in a month. Too many exams can lead to unnecessary anxiety.
It is also essential to understand that some changes in the breasts occur with age, and they may feel and behave differently during different times of the month. During a menstrual cycle (period), the breasts may feel tender and lumpy. Such changes occur during pregnancy, when the breasts will appear larger, and feel tender or sore. It is essential to understand, however, that the appearance or onset of one or more of these symptoms may indicate cancer. Any such signs need immediate medical assistance.
If you notice any unusual changes in sync with the symptoms mentioned in this article, we urge you to consult a doctor (general physician) or an oncologist to get tested further, using a screening mammogram or a diagnostic mammogram.
For more information on the screening systems available for breast cancer, see the full article on breast cancer screening.
For more information on the diagnostic systems available for breast cancer, see the full article on breast cancer diagnosis.
Early Symptoms Of Lung Cancer
What are the first signs of lung cancer?
In its early stages, tumor in the lungs may not show any signs. Symptoms of lung cancer start showing as the tumor grows and makes changes in the body, such as shortness of breath and cough. It is also essential to know that non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer show the same symptoms.
What are the common early signs of lung cancer?
The most common early signs and symptoms of lung cancer are listed below
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Recurrent chest infections like bronchitis
- A build-up of fluid around the lungs
- Chest pain
- Blood in the mucus when coughed up from the lungs
In the case of non-small cell lung cancer, Horner syndrome is common. Horner syndrome is a group of symptoms that may be a sign of lung cancer that is growing into the nerves of the lungs. These symptoms include:
- Severe shoulder pain
- Drooping or weakness of the eyelid
- Little or no sweating on the face on the same side of the weak or drooping eyelid.
In the case of small cell lung cancer, paraneoplastic syndromes are common. Paraneoplastic syndromes are a group of symptoms that occur when substances released by cancer cells cause changes in healthy cells. Some of the paraneoplastic syndromes are listed below.
In Cushing syndrome, the body makes high amounts of corticosteroids. In this syndrome, the most common side effect is high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and muscle weakness.
Hypercalcemia is a condition in which there is too much calcium in the blood. The signs of hypercalcemia include frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, disorientation, and difficulty in thinking.
Lambert- Eaton syndrome
The Lambert- Eaton syndrome occurs due to the lack of a chemical that sends messages between the nerves and muscles. The most common signs and symptoms in the Lambert-Eaton syndrome are muscle weakness, difficulty in climbing stairs, loss of movements, and difficulty in chewing.
When to visit a doctor based on lung cancer symptoms?
It is essential to visit the doctor at the earliest if one notices a persistent cough or blood in the mucus when coughing. It is always better to get checked if symptoms persist.
When to visit a cancer specialist?
A cancer specialist should be visited once the general physician finds abnormal changes. A cancer specialist may recommend further tests, diagnosis, and treatments.
Read more on how is lung cancer diagnosed.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Throat Cancer
What are the common early symptoms of throat cancer?
Throat cancer is a deadly disease because it generally does not get detected at an early stage. Most of the common signs and symptoms of throat cancer are general conditions that even healthy (non-cancerous) individuals can exhibit. But prolonged or persistent symptoms should not be ignored, and a physician’s opinion should be sought if any of these signs are seen for a long duration in an individual:
Tumours can make it difficult for people to swallow chewed solid foods. Prolonged difficulty in swallowing can be a sign of throat cancer.
Throat cancer can present itself in the form of voice changes at an early stage. This can also appear as a form of hoarseness that does not go away.
Cancerous tumours (in throat cancer) can lead to inflamed tonsils, which in turn can lead to a persistent sore throat. This should not be ignored, especially in individuals at high risk to throat cancer due to environmental exposure to carcinogens.
In throat cancer, tumour-affected sites can become enlarged, and/or exhibit fluid retention. Persistent swelling or pain in the eyes, ears, throat or the neck may be early signs of throat cancer.
Throat cancer patients often face difficulty in swallowing solid foods, as described above. In addition, cancer reduces the patient’s appetite, leading to severe and unexplained weight loss. Such symptoms should be addressed immediately.
Nosebleeds, or bleeding from the mouth
Throat cancer patients can experience continuous, inexplicable bleeding from the mouth (oral cavity). This is also a serious symptom. Sometimes, throat cancer patients can cough up blood (presence of blood in the sputum should not be ignored).
A nagging and persistent cough without any apparent flu/infection behind it could be indicative of early-stage throat cancer. This should be checked out with a doctor at the earliest.
A long-lasting sore or lump that does not heal like other wounds/sores, could also indicate the presence of throat cancer.
Throat cancer patients may present with early symptoms such as severe wheezing and difficulty in breathing without any explanation or history of illness.
As mentioned above, it is possible that these symptoms (one or all of them) are just indicators of a less severe disease. It is always advisable to visit a general physician to get such symptoms checked out, and based on a doctor’s opinion, these should be appropriately investigated under an expert oncologist.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Bone Cancer
What are the symptoms of bone cancer?
A symptom is a physical feature apparent to an individual that indicates a condition of the disease. The signs and symptoms of bone cancer are:
Pain in the affected bone
One of the earliest signs is a pain in the affected area. It may progress to a severe condition during metastasis.
The affected area may develop swelling and lumps, indicating the gene defects and cancer cell spreading.
Brittleness of bones on account of other medical conditions needs to be screened and investigated by a doctor as it may be a sign of bone cancer.
Cancer in spinal bones can cause numbness or a tingling sensation
Neural tracts in the spine may cause discomfort due to unexplained sensations along the affected area.
It may cause weight loss and fatigue
Lack of bone health can cause deterioration in weight and fatigue.
Problems during movement
Bone cancer around the joints may especially cause difficulty in movement.
Spreading to the lungs may cause difficulty in breathing and may develop as other cancers if it has spread to other organs.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer
Usually, most cases of ovarian cancer do not get detected or diagnosed until the disease has grown into an advanced stage. This is because the symptoms of ovarian cancer are not evident in the early stages.
Most women tend to experience significant symptoms only when cancer has advanced and spread beyond the ovaries. It is safer for women who have a family history of ovarian cancer or are considered to be at high-risk due to any genetic risk factor to see a doctor: screenings, tests and other monitoring devices to rule out the possibility of malignancies. Routine visits to the gynecologist, annual pelvic exams, ultrasound, and CA-125 (blood test) are also recommended to monitor for early signs or the screening of ovarian cancer.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?
- More than 75% of patients present to the clinic when the disease has spread throughout the abdominal cavity. The common symptoms also include abdominal discomfort, pain, or abdominal distension. These symptoms are due to the presence of mass or fluid in the abdominal cavity. Furthermore, a patient may experience intestinal symptoms like nausea, constipation, and early satiety.
Other symptoms that can be occasional
- Pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid in lung spaces)
- Bowel or intestinal obstruction
- Unexplained weight loss
- Urinary urgency or frequency
- Difficulty eating
Symptoms associated with the possibility of granulosa cell tumors
Granulosa cell tumors are a scarce kind of ovarian cancer. It is consequently crucial to be aware of these symptoms. Granulosa cell tumors come from the stromal cell group, and the following symptoms can be indicative of the presence of such tumors:
Ovarian cancer symptoms in prepubescent girls
- Early-onset of puberty
- Acute abdominal pain
Ovarian cancer symptoms in premenopausal women
- Increased abdominal girth
- Irregularities in the menstrual cycle
- Enlarged abdominal mass
- Abdominal pain.
Ovarian cancer symptoms in postmenopausal women
- Breast tenderness
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Acute abdominal pain
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Blood Cancer
What happens in Blood Cancer:
Cell division is a process fundamental to all life forms; it is essential for growth, and for replacing old and worn-out cells. Cancer is a condition where cells of a certain tissue start growing uncontrollably. The same happens in blood cancer too. Blood cancers, as is evident from the name, are the cancers of the blood cells.
Blood cells are of three main types- red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, which carry out different functions. The blood cells, in most of the cases, the white blood cells start multiplying rapidly. The consequences of this are twofold:
- The cancerous cells divide faster than the healthy cells, and as a result, they crowd the bone marrow. This implies a decrease in the production of healthy red blood cells and platelets.
- The cancerous cells which grow in numbers, do not function like they normally should. Meaning these cells do not support our body like they normally do.
Symptoms of Blood Cancer:
The symptoms of blood cancer may often be ignored or overlooked. This is because they are nonspecific and can be usually explained by flu or other common illnesses. But one must consult a doctor if any of the symptoms persist, and early diagnosis of blood cancer is essential for recovery.
The symptoms of blood cancer are because of the imbalance in the volumes of different types of blood cells. The manifestation of these symptoms depends on the type of blood cancer, the stage of cancer in the person, the progression (acute or chronic), and even differs from person to person.
Anemia is the condition where a person has a lower blood count of red blood cells than is optimum, or the hemoglobin content in the blood is low. The primary function of the red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. So in anemia, the cells cannot give enough oxygen to the tissues, which shows the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Pale yellowish skin
- Chest pain
- Headache etc.
Blood platelets (or thrombocytes), and these cells are primarily responsible for blood clotting (coagulation) and prevent blood loss in case of wounds and injuries. Thrombocytopenia is an abnormally low level of these cells in the blood. The symptoms that characterize this condition are as follows:
- Easy or excessive bruising
- Pinpoint sized reddish spots on the skin due to superficial bleeding into the skin (petechiae)
- Prolonged bleeding from the cuts
- Bleeding of gums or nose
- Blood in urine or stools
- Unusually heavy menstrual flow
Swelling of Lymph nodes:
Lymph nodes are a part of the lymphatic system that is responsible for the immunity of the body. They act as filters for harmful substances. There are hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body, and clusters of them in the neck, underarms, chest, abdomen, and groin area. In cancer, the lymph nodes swell due to the building up of abnormal white blood cells in the nodes. They are usually painless but there is pain in some cases.
Unexplained weight loss:
Losing over 5% of the body weight in a month or about 10% in six months without trying is not a regular occurrence and should not be ignored. In the case of cancer, the weight loss is due to continuous cell division, which requires a lot of energy and so increases the person’s metabolism.
Swelling of liver or spleen:
Cancerous cells can build up in the liver or spleen, causing that organ to enlarge or swell. This can put pressure on the abdomen due to which the following can happen.
- It can make a person feel full even on taking small quantities of food and so their appetite decreases.
- It can also cause swelling or bloating of the stomach with occasional pain. Abnormal cells in the spleen cause pain in the right upper abdomen and the same in the liver causes pain in the left upper abdomen.
Fever or infections:
The overall immunity of the person decreases due to blood cancer, low levels of healthy infection-fighting cells (neutrophils) may be noted in particular. This leads to frequent infections or fever without a specific cause. Flu-like symptoms like sore throat, coughing, etc. are due to infections. In case of severe or long-lasting symptoms, one should consult a doctor as it could be a case of blood cancer.
Pain in the bone:
Crowding of the bone marrow can cause pain in the bones, especially in areas with large amounts of bone marrow like in the hips or sternum. In myeloma, a type of blood cancer, bone pain is one of the early symptoms with pain in the back or ribs usually. This pain is typically constant and is made worse by movement. One can also develop holes in the bone, called lytic spots or osteoporosis (the decrease in bone density).
Night sweats are repeated episodes of excessive sweating due to some underlying medical condition. Night sweats and hot flashes are common in women during their menopause and is also a common side effect of many medications. Unexplainable night sweats can indicate some disorder and need examination.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
Symptoms of Stomach Cancer:
According to the NCI, stomach cancer is asymptomatic and this implies that it often goes undetected until an advanced stage. Some of the most common symptoms of stomach cancer are:
- Unexplained heartburn
- Constant bloating
- Poor appetite
- Blood in the stool
- Feeling full after eating in small portions
- Excessive fatigue and exhaustion
- Stomach ache
- Low red blood cell count (anemia)
- Swelling and fluid build up
There is a high probability that these symptoms are caused by things other than cancer like viruses or ulcers. But experiencing these symptoms chronically is an indication to get oneself examined by a doctor. Read more on the different stomach cancer types.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Colon Cancer
The colon is a part of the large intestine and lining of the colon sometimes has growths known as polyps. These growths can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). These growths that are present in the colon deprive normal tissues of nutrition and oxygen and can also spread to the lymph nodes of the area and to distant other organs. Most cases of colon cancer start as benign polyps and can later turn out to be cancerous. The few small polyps may be present and this might cause a few symptoms to show. For this reason, most doctors advise people to get screened regularly so that colon cancer can be detected at its earliest stage. Doctors also recommend screening for colon cancer regularly because if the polyps are identified early, they can be removed before they turn cancerous.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
Most people who have colon cancer at the early stages show no symptoms. When the symptoms show, they will vary based on the size of the tumor, the location and how far the cancer has spread. The most common symptoms of colon cancer are:
- Easy fatigability
- Change in bowel movements like constipation or diarrhea
- Blood in stools which may appear like black tarry stools or bright red colour
- Pain abdomen
- Weight loss
- Persistent abdominal discomfort like cramps or gas
- A bowel movement that does not let one feel relieved
- Rectal bleeding which is bright red
Colon cancers can often bleed into the digestive tract and blood may be present in the stool which makes it look dark but in most cases, the stool will look normal. With time, the blood loss can build up and can lead to a low blood count which can make the person anemic.
Most of these symptoms can also appear with conditions other than colon cancer like haemorrhoids, an infection or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Even if symptoms show with these conditions show, they should not be neglected and should be brought to the notice of a doctor.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
The abnormal growth and division of cells in any part of the body causes cancer. Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate which is an exocrine gland. Read more about prostate cancer here. Prostate cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages. This is because of the location and development of the cancer. It does not often press the urethra, which causes abnormalities in urination or any other symptoms until the cancer has metastasized.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Most of the symptoms of prostate cancer vary for each individual. The extent of impact of these symptoms on the body depends on the stage of the cancer along with the resistance and tolerance levels of the patient. The common signs of prostate cancer are as follows:
- Reduced control over the bladder
- Blood in urine
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Pain and burning during urination
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bone pain
- Numbness of hips, legs or feet
- Blood in semen
Symptoms of metastasized prostate cancer:
Often, the symptoms show up in advanced stages of cancer. These are complicated and have to be treated particularly.
Following are the symptoms of metastasized prostate cancer:
Fatigue is a condition of extreme tiredness that lasts even after taking rest. It could be caused due to the development of prostate cancer in the body. It is also caused due to the treatments given to cure prostate cancer, stress or anxiety. Read more on diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Not all men experience pain due to prostate cancer. When the cancer has spread to the bones or nerves, it causes pain. It can destroy and weaken the bones, causing bone pain, more like stabbing in men having prostate cancer. The extent of pain depends on the spreading of cancer.
If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate into the urethra and the bladder and presses the urethra, men might experience urination problems which include:
- Leaking urine
- Blood in urine
- No control in holding urine in the bladder
- Leaking urine
- No proper filtration of waste from the blood due the blockage of tubes that carry the urine from the kidneys interfering the functionality of the kidneys.
Prostate cancer can also cause disturbances in the bowel movement. It causes the following:
- Fecal urgency and inconsistency
- Abdominal pain
- Bowel obstruction
Bone pain and fractures:
Prostate cancer is more commonly spread to the bones. It destroys and weakens them. This type of cancer can cause severe bone thinning which causes extreme damage to the bones leading to fractures.
Prostate cancer can reduce a man’s sexual desire. This can be because of the cancer or because of the tiredness caused by it. Advanced stages of prostate cancer can also be a reason of erectile dysfunction in men. Read more on stage 3 of prostate cancer and stage 4 of prostate cancer
It is a condition where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes which causes a blockage in the lymphatic system which often causes swelling. Lymphoedema in prostate cancer often affects the legs and the pelvic area. Symptoms of this condition in the affected areas are:
- Swelling or inflammation
- Discomfort or heaviness
- Skin problems like redness or sore skin
Prostate cancer can reduce the blood’s capability of carrying oxygen to meet the body’s needs. This can lead to anemia, a condition of extreme weakness, paleness and shortness of breath.
Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC):
This phenomenon occurs when the cancer cells have spread to the spinal cord. The risk of developing MSCC is high when the cancer has spread to the bones. However, this is not often seen in all patients. Following could be the symptoms of MSCC:
- Soreness or pain in the back or neck
- Narrow pain near the abdomen or chest that runs along the lower back, buttocks or legs
- Pain that runs down through the arms or legs
- Weakness causing difficulty in standing or walking
- Permanent numbness and tingling of legs, arms, fingers, toes, buttocks, stomach area or chest
- Reduced control over the bladder or bowel
Hypercalcaemia is a condition when there is excessive calcium content in the bones and it begins to leak out into the blood. It is not very common, except for in advanced stages of prostate cancer but might be responsible for the following:
- Bone pain
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent urination
Often, men lose their appetite if they have prostate cancer or, are being treated for prostate cancer. This is caused because of the problems they experience in consuming their regular diet, and leads to weight loss.
On experiencing any of the above, a doctor has to be consulted immediately. The patient is then diagnosed based on digital rectal exams (DRE) and prostate specific androgen (PSA) screening tests. If the diagnostic results are a positive for prostate cancer, treating the symptoms and relieving the patients from pain is a main part of the treatment, which is known as palliative or supportive care. Read more about treatment options for prostate cancer here.
Also, not all the symptoms cause cancer. They might be a cause of many other non-cancerous conditions like enlarged prostate, urinary infections or other medical conditions.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Liver Cancer
What are the signs and symptoms of liver cancer?
The signs and symptoms of liver cancer usually do not show up until the cancer is in its later stages, but sometimes they can show up early too. It is important to go to the doctor once the first symptoms appear as there might be chances of getting the cancer diagnosed and treated earlier and better. The most common symptoms of liver cancer are listed below.
- Right upper abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss
- Feeling full after a small meal
- Loss of appetite
- Enlarged liver
- Enlarged spleen
- Swelling or fluid build up in the abdomen
Losing more than 10% of body weight over a short period is seen as unexpected weight loss.
Jaundice is caused if the liver is not functioning properly or in case of bile duct blockage. It has very clear symptoms such as yellowing of skin and eyes. The color of urine also becomes darker (more yellow) when someone has jaundice. However Jaundice is a late symptom in Liver cancer.
Some other symptoms may include fever, bleeding, or bruising and enlarged veins on the belly that can be seen through the skin. Some people who have cirrhosis or those who have been affected by hepatitis may feel worse than usual and their test results might show a change in AFP levels.
However, there are some liver tumors that make hormones that act up differently on organs other than the liver. These hormones can show symptoms such as:
- High cholesterol levels
- High levels of red blood cells that cause the person to look red and flushed
- Breast enlargement or shrinkage of testicles in men
- Low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia, can cause fatigue, or fainting
- High calcium level, the condition known as hypercalcemia, causes symptoms like nausea, confusion, weakness, constipation, or muscle problems
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer
Cancer is caused due to the abnormal growth or division of cells in any particular part of the body. Thyroid cancer is one that develops in the thyroid gland of the neck which is present at base of the neck and is responsible for the production of hormones. It is one of the rarest, but treatable form of cancer. Read more about thyroid cancer here. Read more about early thyroid cancer symptoms below.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer:
Thyroid cancer does not always show symptoms. In most cases, these cancers are not diagnosed by regular examinations of the neck. In a few cases, the cancer is detected from x-rays or imagining tests.
The following are the most common symptoms of thyroid cancer:
- A slow growing lump in the neck
- Swelling of glands in the neck
- Neck pain, which could extend upto the ears
- Permanent voice changes or unexplained hoarseness
- Trouble in swallowing
- Breathing troubles
- Cough and cold
- Sore throat
The above symptoms could be caused by medical medications other than cancer like goitre for example. On experiencing any of the these symptoms, a doctor has to be consulted immediately. The doctor will diagnose the patients based on the intensity and effects of the symptoms. Diagnosis of thyroid cancer involves relieving the patients from the symptoms and treating their cause by symptom management, supportive or palliative care. Read more about diagnosis of thyroid cancer here. The patients have to be under supervision of the medical health care to follow up the changes or treatment of the symptoms.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Brain Cancer
People with a brain tumor may experience either general or specific symptoms. The former is caused by the pressure of the tumor on the brain or the spinal cord and the latter is caused on account of a specific region of the brain not functioning well as a result of the tumor. Causes of brain tumors may also be because of medical conditions other than the tumor.
The symptoms of a brain tumor are:
- Seizures or paralysis. Tumors can push the nerves to interfere with electrical signals which may result in seizures. It is the first symptom brain tumor. 50% of patients experience at least one seizure. However, the cause of seizures may be other neurological problems, brain disorders and drug withdrawal.
- Headaches. Headaches are another major symptom affecting over 50% of patients. These are sharp, shooting pains that worsen in the mornings or migraines. They do not subside from over-the-counter drugs.
- Personality and memory changes. Brain function can be disrupted because of tumors and this may result in mood swings and major behaviours of patients. These symptoms may occur due to tumor in the frontal or temporal lobes and certain parts of the brain.
- Memory loss and confusion. This may be caused on account of both frontal and temporal lobe tumors further affecting the decision-making and reasoning faculties of the brain. Patients may have trouble focusing, experience confusion over little things,have short-term memory issues, etc.
- Nausea and vomiting. Tumors are capable of causing pressure and hormonal imbalance due to which the patient may experience nausea and vomiting.
- Fatigue. Feeling completely exhausted or out-of-sorts is another significant symptoms. Connected symptoms are feeling irritable, and distracted.
- Difficulty in swallowing. This may result for the tumor being located at the cerebellum and in or near the cranial nerves.
- Changes in vision and other sensory perceptions. Vision disruptions may be because of the tumor having spread to the pituitary gland, optic nerve, occipital lobe and temporal lobe. Altered perception of touch and pressure is not uncommon for patients.
- Sleep issues and drowsiness.
- Changes in ability to walk and conducting daily affairs
- Balance Issue
- Facial numbness
- Trouble with coordinated movement of limbs.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is the cancer in the testicles, male reproductive organ that makes hormones and sperm.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer
Patients with testicular cancer can experience varied symptoms.The foremost sign of testicular cancer includes the enlargement of testicle, hence any lumps or hardness should be inspected by a doctor as soon as possible. Not all symptoms of testicular cancer show up until the cancer has spread beyond the testicles though. The most significant symptoms of testicular cancer are as follows:
Lumps on testicles:
Occurrence of painless lumps on one or both of the testicles is the most common symptom of testicular cancer. Initially, the lumps are pea-sized but they can grow over time.
Pain and discomfort in the testicles or the scrotum is another symptom of testicular cancer though swelling might or might not be observed in this condition. Testicular cancer could also cause a constant but slight pain in the groin or the lower abdomen. Low back ache occurs when the cancer has spread beyond the testicle to the abdomen.
The feeling of numbness of testicles could indicate testicular cancer.
Change in the size of testicle:
Testicular cancer may result in enlargement or shrinking of the testicle. This causes the feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, one testicle could feel heavier than the other too.
Fluid in scrotum:
Fluid starts to build up in the scrotum which shows that the body reacting to the cancer.
Growth or tenderness of breasts:
In a few cases, testicular tumours lead to gynecomastia, a condition where the tumours produce hormones that aid in the growth or tenderness of the breast tissue.
Clotting of blood:
Developing blood clots in large veins and artery, is one of the early signs of testicular cancer. Shortness of breath or swelling of one or both legs due to blood clots is a major symptom of testicular cancer.
Advanced Testicular Cancer Symptoms:
The symptoms in the advanced stages of testicular cancer are mostly due to the metastasis of cancer than the orginal symptoms of testicular cancer and the most common ones are:
- Pain in the lower back
- Shortness of breath
- Bloody sputum or phlegm
- Chest pain
Symptoms identical to non cancerous conditions:
Unlike in other cancer types, the symptoms of this cancer are not easily explained by other conditions and so cannot be mistaken for those, however, it does not mean that the presence of the symptoms necessarily means testicular cancer. Following are some conditions that explain the common symptoms of testicular cancer.
Lumps or changes in size of testicles:
- Spermatocele is a cyst that develops in the epididymis, a small organ attached to the testicle. The epididymis is made up of a series of coiled tubes which help in the carriage of the sperm away from the testicle.
- Building up of hydrocele, a fluid in the membrane around the testicle.
- Varicocele, enlargement of blood vessels from testicles.
- Hydrocele, A fluid produced in the membrane around the testicle.
The following could be the root causes of pain in the testicular cancer:
- Infections: Infected testicles or epididymis can cause pain in the testicles.
- Injury: Any injury near the testicles can also cause severe pain in the region.
- Twisting: Twisting of the testicles leads to pain in the testicles.
Responsive action for the above symptoms:
On experiencing the above symptoms or any changes in the testicles, the person would need a proper diagnosis. On observing any lumps, hardness or tenderness, pain, or even abnormal enlargement of the testicles, especially when they last longer than two weeks, consulting a doctor is a must. Explaining the exact changes that you have experienced, and the timeline of the symptoms can help the doctor evaluate and diagnose. Read more about diagnosis of testicular cancer here. Once the cancer is diagnosed, mitigating the symptoms is the first and one of the most important steps of treatment. Read more about the treatment of testicular cancer here
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer does not show symptoms in the early stages and by the time symptoms are noted, the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas. The symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancers are explained in this article and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours(PNETs) are discussed separately, read about PNET here
Stomachache or back pain:
The cancers that start in the body or the tail of the pancreas grow large and press the other organs surrounding it. The cancer spreading to the nerves around the pancreas often causes back pain.
Pancreatic cancer lowers the patient’s appetite causing unexplained and unintended weight loss. Some cancers also produce hormones that make it harder for the body to absorb nutrients from the food.
Nausea and vomiting:
Pressing of the stomach can make it difficult for food to get through making the patient feel nauseous, especially after food intake. It can also cause vomiting along with pain in the abdomen area.
Enlargement of liver or gallbladder:
Pancreatic cancer can cause enlargement of the liver especially if the cancer has spread to the organ. If the cancer blocks the bile duct, it builds up in the gallbladder making it swollen.
This can be felt below the right rib cage and can also be confirmed by imaging tests.
A blood clot in a large vein (called deep vein thrombosis or DVT if in the leg) is one of the first signs of pancreatic cancer, and redness, swelling and pain in the leg may be noted in case of DVT. Sometimes a blood clot from elsewhere can travel to the lungs making it harder for a person to breathe and cause chest pain. Clotting of blood in the lungs itself may happen and this is called pulmonary embolism (or PE).
If the pancreatic cancer leads to destroying of insulin making cells, it can lead to high levels of blood sugar (diabetes). The person can feel hungry or thirsty and have to urinate often though small changes in the blood sugar levels may not cause those symptoms, the change can be detected through blood tests.
Pancreas plays an important role in the digestion by secreting enzymes that help breaking down of the food. One might feel full even after taking in small quantities, feeling bloated, painful sensation in the chest, etc.
Jaundice can be seen in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, especially in case of cancers that start in the head of the pancreas. This is because the head of the pancreas is located near the common bile duct and cancers in this part can cause the duct to get blocked. This leads to building up of bile, a dark yellow brown substance made by the liver to help break down fats and it is excreted by the body in the form of stool. The buildup of bile, or bilirubin in specific, causes jaundice.
Cancers that start in other parts of the pancreas may also cause jaundice but the pressing of the bile duct does not happen, and instead, it may be caused when the cancer spreads to the liver.
Dark urine, pale or greasy stools and itchy skin are the common symptoms of jaundice.
Responsive action for the above symptoms:
While most of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancers can be explained by other less critical conditions, one should keep note of their symptoms and do to a doctor if the symptoms persist or are not being solved by the common medication for the symptoms.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Urinary Bladder Cancer
The most common symptoms that bladder cancer manifests are urinary issues. Blood in the urine is one of the first. It may be orange, pink or dark red. The following symptoms may imply that one needs an immediate check up:
- When the urine changes color / mixed with blood
- Urge to urinate more frequently than usual, but not being able to urinate
- Urinating more frequently than usual
- When it hurts or burns while urinating
While these symptoms are likely to be caused by urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder stones, an overactive bladder, or an inflammation in the prostate. Either way, it is important to get symptoms checked.
Once bladder cancer starts to spread:
- Pain in the lower back
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the bones
- Extreme fatigue or exhaustion
- The urge to urinate even when you do not have to
- Swollen feet
- Not feeling hungry
- Reduced urine output
While these conditions may be a result of a condition other than bladder cancer, it is better to stay safe than be sorry.