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10 common signs and symptoms of cancer you should know!

Do not ignore symptoms like diarrhea, blood in the urine or stools, menstrual abnormalities as it could be due to cancer.

Written by Dr Varuna Mallya |Updated : July 14, 2016 7:04 PM IST

Read this in Hindi.

Cancer, if detected at an early stage, can improve the quality of the life and in some cases, may save a life. Hence, it is worth your while to know and understand the disease as cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality in India. So before the cancer spreads to various organs and death becomes inevitable due to organ failure, being aware of the common symptoms is always a good idea.

Generally, at an overall level, if fever, body ache or unexplained loss of weight is troubling you for more than three months, one can suspect cancer. Whereas, in some cases, chronic tiredness & fatigue is quite common as the bone marrow does not produce enough red cells leading to reduced hemoglobin and weakness. As there are various types of cancer and the symptoms vary from person to person, it is difficult to provide a set list of symptoms. However, here are some of the common symptoms of cancer you need to be aware of!

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  1. Diarrhea: Alternating diarrhea and constipation for a prolonged time period: could be a symptom of intestinal cancer.
  2. Persistent cough and hoarseness of voice: If it persists despite full course of antibiotic therapy, it could indicate throat cancer.
  3. Blood in stools: Although it could manifest piles and other stomach related problems, it can also signify an underlying gastrointestinal cancer.
  4. Blood in the urine: If you happen to see reddish-colored urine and have fever and pain in the abdomen, it could be a cancer of the kidney.
  5. A non-healing ulcer in the mouth: It could indicate an oral cancer, especially if you are a smoker or chew tobacco (as gutka, tambaku).
  6. Prolonged menstrual bleeding: If you witness periods for more than 10 days to weeks, it could indicate uterine cancer.
  7. Blood in sputum/ phlegm along with cough: If you have persistent cough leading to blood in your phlegm/ sputum, it could indicate lung cancer.
  8. Recurring jaundice: If you ve been suffering from jaundice off and on, it s time you screen yourself for liver cancer.
  9. Lump in the breast: Although not all lumps in the breast are cancerous, it is worthwhile to get them examined by a good breast surgeon. Women over 35 years of age should ideally get mammography done every one or two years to detect breast cancer.
  10. Change in the size of a wart, mole: The change in the area, border, curvature, depth and elevation of a mole or appearance of new mole could indicate skin cancer. Also thickening or lump anywhere on the body which is either growing or lasts for more than a few days should be shown to the physician too.

Now that you are aware, do get yourself or your loved ones screened early for better chances of survival. Do spread the word it could save someone s precious life.

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