Cancer can prove to be fatal if not detected in its early stages. While some forms of cancer are relatively difficult to detect due to the absence of noticeable signs or symptoms, the majority of cancers can found through self-detection if people are able to recognize some key symptoms of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms to watch for in discovering cancer include changes in the skin, unexplained weight loss, a change in bowel habits and unusual bleeding or discharge. If these symptoms are recognized in the early stages of the disease, the odds of a patient’s survival are greatly increased.
Change in Skin Color
One of the most noticeable symptoms of cancer is a change in the patient’s skin. An individual may suddenly notice that a mole has changed in size, shape or color. Or, a patient may notice that an existing sore is lingering without healing or is beginning to bleed. Because such skin changes can sometimes signal skin cancer, patients should be examined by a dermatologist as soon as possible. With the early detection of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, the overall 5 year survival rate is over 90%.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is another occurrence that should not be ignored. While there are multiple reasons why a person may suddenly lose weight, a sudden unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more could possibly indicate the presence of certain cancers such as cancer of the pancreas, lungs or stomach. Individuals who notice unexplained weight loss in themselves or a loved one should report this to their doctor immediately.
In addition to being on the lookout for changes in their skin and weight, people should also be wary of any changes in their bowel habits. Because rectal bleeding or abnormally thin stools are often associated with colorectal cancer, it is important for patients who experience these symptoms to report them to their doctor.
Unusual Bleeding or Discharge
Unusual bleeding or discharge are two other symptoms that are sometimes associated with cancer. Bleeding from the vagina can be a symptom of vaginal cancer, cervical cancer or endometrial cancer. And, as mentioned above, bleeding from the rectum can be evidence of colorectal cancer or anal cancer.
If these symptoms are detected during the early stages of cancer and treatment is rendered, the chances for a patient’s survival are greatly increased. Patients who are in search of professionals who can provide a thorough examination of their symptoms should consider a comprehensive cancer testing facility such as Integrated Oncology Los Angeles or other places in the country. By seeking assistance from a team of experienced pathologists and geneticists, patients with cancer can receive detailed guidance and recommendations regarding their treatment.