Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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Cancer occurs when the body loses control over its cells, which prompts the growth of malignant tumours. Once a tumour has formed, a patient will likely notice unusual changes to the body’s normal functioning. This can include pain which may intensify during the night, or when taking deep breaths.
It is well known that cancer inflicts pain on the body, but this pain can take on different characteristics depending on the location of the disease.
Cancer pain is mostly caused by a tumour pressing on bones, nerves or other organs inside the body.
But a great number of patients experience no pain at all, as the tumour doesn’t have any nerves of its own.
Therefore, the pain usually originates from a tumour pressing on nerves nearby.
Cancer Research UK says: “Researchers estimate that 38 out of 100 people with cancer have moderate to severe pain.”
The symptom is most likely to occur in cases where the cancer is already advanced, according to the health platform.
This means that cancer has spread to neighbouring parts of the body or has come back since it was first treated.
When the disease is in the advanced stages, roughly 65 percent of patients will experience pain.
Although pain can radiate to different parts of the body, a common site is the lower back.
The health platform Everyday Health explains: “The most common cause of back pain is back strain, but back pain that persists and does have an obvious cause could be a symptom of cancer as well.
“Back pain related to cancer is often (but not always) worse at night, does not improve when you lie down and may worsen with a deep breath or during bowel movements.
“Back pain can be caused by tumours in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis, or by metastases to the spine from other cancers.”
When back pain is symphonic of the disease, however, it may possibly be related to spinal, colorectal or ovarian cancer.
It should be noted, however, that pain in the region of the body is a common occurrence and rarely a sign of cancer.
Other bodily changes likely to accompany cancer pain include abdominal lumps right below the skin, or unexplained weight loss.
Fatigue is another common sign, affecting as many as nine out of ten people with the disease, but patients can experience tiredness differently.
While for some people the effects of fatigue will be very mild, for others, it may be quite disruptive.
Any suspicious changes in the body should be investigated to ensure an early diagnosis is made if needed, as this can lead to timely care.
The majority of cancer cases are highly treatable if caught early.
Cancer Research UK says: “In the UK, national screening programmes can help diagnose cancers at an early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.”
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