Monday, 12 December 2016

Cancer - Key Signs and Symptoms

Hello everyone,

Today's blog post is an important one. It is so important to know your body and how it works. We are all different: we look different, are function in different ways. It is so important to know what is normal and regular for your own body so that you can notice if things change. This could make all the difference as should the worst happen, you have a high chance of catching it early and bettering your survival chances.
I am going to list the most important symptoms for both men and women but please don't panic if you look through the list and think a few apply to you. This doesn't mean you definitely have cancer, in fact it usually isn't anything as serious as cancer but it may be worth going to your GP to have a chat and a check up :).

Signs of cancer for both men and women:
*Usual lump or swelling anywhere on your body- Men should pay particular attention to any lumps in their testicles and women should pay particular attention to any breast lumps. Everyone should watch out for lumps on your neck, armpit, abdomen, groin or chest area. The best time to have a check is probably when having a bath or shower. Have a good feel and know how your body feels so if any lumps do appear you can detect them easily.
*A mole that has changed shape, size or colour- most moles are harmless. However be aware of them because if a new mole appears or one changes colour, shape or size then it will need to be checked. If any mole begins or ooze, bleed or become crusty then please make an appointment with your GP ASAP.

*A sore that hasn't healed after several weeks- our skin is usually able to repair itself easily (within a week or so) If a spot, wart or sore isn't able to heal itself after three weeks then please go to your doctor.

*An ulcer in your mouth or on your tongue that has been there more then three weeks- most people get mouth ulcers when they are feeling run down. Usually they are nothing to worry about. Usually the lining of your mouth will renew itself every two weeks so an ulcer won't last much longer then that. However is an ulcer does last long then three weeks please visit your doctor or dentist.

*A cough or croaky voice that lasts longer then three weeks- these are symptoms of a cold. Usually they disappear after a week or so and are not signs of anything serious. But if they do last for longer then three weeks or if they get persistently worse then please do go to your doctor. ESPECIALLY if you are a smoker or have been a smoker.

*Persistent difficulty swallowing- Lots of medical conditions can affect your ability to swallow. If you are having difficulty and it lasts longer then a week or so then you should go to your doctor.

*Indigestion- There are lots of foods, especially fatty or spicy ones that can make you feel uncomfortable after eating them. If this is happening to you a lot or is really painful then it should be checked out.

*Blood in your urine- This should ALWAYS be reported to your doctor. It might not mean cancer but it should always be looked at.

*Problems passing urine- It is common for men to have difficulty passing urine as they get older. You may need to pee more often then you used to and it can sometimes be painful. Usually it is caused by a common condition causing your prostate to enlarge. It it not often cancer but if you are having trouble please visit a doctor. Most women experiencing problems with urine are suffering from an infection but if you need to pass urine more urgently then normal or are in pain whilst doing so, please get yourself checked out.

*Blood in your bowel movements- This is usually caused by piles which is caused by straining when you are going to the toilet. It can also be a sign of cancer so please stay vigilant.

*A change in your bowel movements that lasts longer then six weeks (diarrhoea)- this is usually caused by stomach bugs or food poisoning. If it lasts longer then a few weeks please get yourself to the doctors.

*Unexpected weight loss- It is normal for your weight to fluctuate slightly. However if you are not on a diet but are losing lots of weight please get a check up.

*Heavy night sweats- these are usually brought on by infections and some types of medications. They are also common in women going through the menopause. They can also be caused by some cancers so please take care if you are experiencing them regularly.

*Unexplained pain or ache that lasts longer then four weeks- Pain is our bodies telling us something is not right. Take notice of any pain and if it is persistent or getting worse then go see your doctor as soon as you can.

*Coughing up blood- ALWAYS go to see your doctor as soon as this happens.

Signs of cancer in women specifically:
*An usual change in your breast- lumps are not the only sign of breast cancer. Changes to your breast's appearance, shape or feel are also signs as are changes to the texture of the skin, any redness or changes to your nipples. Pain in your breast is also a sign. If you experience any of these, don't panic but visit your GP ASAP.

*Bleeding from the vagina after the menopause or in between periods- Spotting (bleeding between periods) is common for females taking the contraceptive pill. However if you are bleeding during or after sex, between periods or after going through the menopause then it should be check out straight away.

*Persistent bloating- Bloating is the blight of lots of women's lives. If it happens persistently please have a check up.

Some of these symptoms may seem embarrassing or silly. Don't ever feel embarrassed to see your doctor - they have seen it all and do not judge. Don't ever feel like you're bothering your doctor or wasting a time slot - if you have a concern or symptom, they are there to listen, to check and to reassure. If you are worried or think you may need to see a doctor then please don't deliberate, make the appointment as soon as you can. Early diagnosis saves lives. It also puts your mind at rest if nothing is actually wrong with you.


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