Cancer is the second most common cause of death after heart disease. If caught early, cancer is a treatable prognosis. Every year millions of Americans are devastated by the news of cancer. They experience fear, anger and shock by the report. People may get leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, basal cell cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 1,600 people die of cancer each day. It's expected that 1,658,370 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. Cancer often has no specific symptoms, so it is important that people limit their risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screenings. Since cancer doesn't usually have glaring symptoms,  it can be considered an invisible enemy. Here are 5 little-known cancer symptoms you should know about.

Sensitive or warm breasts.

Hard knots in the breast may be signs of breast cancer. Any pain or warmth in the breasts could also be a symptom. It is important to see a doctor about any strange lumps, pain or discharge from the nipples that you may have. However, most people overlook this. Prevention.com reported that "About 7.5 percent of people reported an unexplained lump. While 67 percent did contact their doctors, 77 percent didn't think it could be a sign of something more serious." Studies show that mammograms can detect cancer an average of 1 to 4 years before you can feel a lump or bump. A regular mammogram can save your life.
Most women should have their first mammogram at age 40.

Hoarseness and coughing.

Dr. Katriina Whitaker, a senior research fellow at University College London, explained to Prevention.com that although it may be the cold and flu season, coughing and hoarseness could be a sign of thyroid, laryngeal or lymphoma cancer if it persists. This was the most frequent symptom among the people she examined. "We know coughs and colds are everywhere at the moment, and we're not suggesting everyone with a cough goes to their doctor," Whitaker said. Smoking can also cause hoarseness, but if this is persistent, see your doctor if you need a peace of mind.

Bowel changes.

Bowel cancer symptoms are common, but it doesn't mean you have cancer. The Colon Cancer Coalition shared that if there is blood in the stools along with pain, it could be hemorrhoids, not cancer. It can also mean that you ate something that didn't agree with your system. However, if stool becomes thin, narrow or ribbon-like this could be an indication something is going on. Also if you notice blood in the stool, or darkened stool this could also be an indication of changes in the colon. Blood tests or a colonoscopy can reveal if there are any abnormalities. There is a 5-year survival rate of 90 percent if colon cancer is found early. "This means 9 out of 10 people with early-stage cancer survive at least 5 years. But if cancer has had a chance to spread outside the colon, survival rates are lower," the American Cancer Society shared.

Unexplained pain.

Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. For example, cancers of the "Pancreas don't cause symptoms until they grow large enough to press on nearby nerves or organs (this causes back or belly pain)," cancer.org reported. Pain that develops doesn't mean it's associated with cancer but get it checked out anyway. Dr. Whitaker also added: "Many of the people we interviewed had red flag symptoms but felt that these were trivial and didn't need medical attention, particularly if they were painless or intermittent."

Weight loss.

Weight loss can be a noticeable sign of cancer. There is a story of a woman in the UK, who dropped 3 dress sizes and thought she was getting fit. Melanie Swan-Horton went from a size 16 to a size 10 and was happy that her weight-loss program was helping her lose weight. But it was bowel cancer that was the reason, not a lifestyle adjustment. "I thought I was getting really slim and fit but it was the cancer killing me and other slimmers need to be aware," she explained to the Daily Mail. An estimated 40 percent people reported that they experienced unexplained weight loss when first diagnosed with cancer. "And up to 80 percent of people with advanced cancer experience weight loss and cachexia. Wasting is the combination of weight loss and muscle loss," cancer.net shared. If you start seeing significant weight loss for no reason, record how much you are eating and what your appetite has been. If there are changes in the way food tastes, also record this and share it with your healthcare provider.

If you're experiencing symptoms like the above, get a cancer screening as most of them are covered by insurance. Most likely, it is not cancer, but you can't put a price on having a peace of mind, right? Emotional stress can cause your body to harness toxins that can exacerbate symptoms if you're worried that it's cancer. Today make an appointment to talk with your healthcare team about any symptoms and concerns that you might have.
more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad