There's an important rule about cancer – one of the leading causes of death in the world – and that is that the sooner it's detected, the higher your chances of successful treatment. So in addition to your regular medical checks, it's also important to pay attention to any unusual sign your body is sending. Here are 20 signs that many people, and especially women, often ignore.
#1. Chest pain or chronic cough
Although a bad cough is usually linked to bronchitis, this can also be a sign of something more serious such as lung tumors or leukemia. Lung cancer patients often feel chest pain that extends down the arm and up into their shoulders.
#2. Shortness of breath or wheezing
Lung cancer is also marked by the inability to catch breath or wheezing.
#3. Difficulty swallowing
This sign has been linked to lung, throat and esophageal cancers.
#4. Infections or frequent fevers
Chronic susceptibility too infections is typically a sign of leukemia, which seriously hampers your body's natural immune response.
#5. Bleeding that doesn't stop or excessive bruising
This is another symptom of leukemia as it indicates that something abnormal happens with the red blood cells in the body.
#6. Lumps on the underarm, neck or groin or swollen lymph nodes
Any changes in the lymphatic system, such as swellings of the lymph nodes, can point to cancer.
#7. Abdominal weight gain or bloating
Abdominal bloating for a long time has been repeatedly reported by a number of ovarian cancer patients.
Chronic fatigue that's not caused by physical activity or sleep deficiency can point toward many types of cancer.
#9. Abdominal or pelvic pain
Cramping, abdominal and pelvic pain often indicate ovarian cancer. Abdominal pain has also been linked to leukemia.
#10. Unable to eat and feeling full
Ovarian cancer can also be marked by loss of appetite, even when you haven't eaten for a long time.
#11. Sudden weight loss
Unexplained weight loss is often linked to some digestive cancers such as stomach or colon cancers. It can indicate liver cancer too, which compromises the body's ability to eliminate waste.
#12. Blood in stool and rectal bleeding
Blood in the stool is always a warning sign that requires immediate medical attention. It's normally a sign of colorectal cancer.
#13. Swollen, sore or red breasts
Any unusual changes to the breasts and nipples should be reported to a doctor because they can point to breast cancer.
#14. Stomachache or stomach upset
Abdominal cramping or frequent stomach upset can be a sign of colorectal cancer.
#15. Bleeding between periods or painful and heavy periods
These signs are often linked to uterine or endometrial cancer. A transvaginal ultrasound can easily detect what's wrong with your periods.
#16. Nipple changes
Nipples that become inverted, flattened or turned sideways can indicate breast cancer.
#17. A skin lump that bleeds easily, becomes crusty or doesn't heal
These symptoms can point to melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer. This cancer is often accompanied by unusual skin spots or growths.
#18. Swelling of facial features
Lung cancer is often manifested by redness, swelling or puffiness in the face because normal blood flow from the head is inhibited.
#19. Pain in the lower right side or back
Liver cancer is typically marked by pain in the lower right-side abdominal region. It can also be a sign of breast cancer.
#20. Changes in nails
Any unusual changes in the fingernails should be examined by a doctor as these can point to several types of cancer. A black or brown streak or a dot under your nails usually indicates skin cancer. White or pail nails can sometimes point to liver cancer.