The symptoms of cancer will vary greatly depending on the tissues affected by the disease, among other factors–like the patient’s age and family history. Generally speaking, these symptoms are caused by the damage that cancerous cells and tumors have on the area of the body is affected. General symptoms of cancer may include nausea or persistent pain, but other symptoms may be more specific to the type of cancer. For example, difficulty breathing is usually associated with lung cancer.
The general symptoms of cancer might also include lumps in various tissues, diarrhea and other bowel problems, ulcers on the skin, difficulty urinating, fatigue, rash and painful coughing. Many of these symptoms may also be indicative of other medical conditions, which is one reason why it is important to see a physician right away to identify the cause of these symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Cancer in Men
Men should be aware of the symptoms of the more common forms of cancers that occur in male populations. If treated early enough, physicians may be able to eliminate the cancerous growth and prevent the disease from spreading.
Testicular cancer is a particular threat to middle-aged men. According to the American Cancer Society, men between the ages of 20 and 39 should have regular cancer screenings for this disease. A physician should examine any lumps or changes to the size of the testicles closely and this is especially true if swelling begins to occur in the scrotum. It is also possible for men to perform self-screenings for testicular cancer.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Prostate cancer occurs most common in males older than 40. This disease is marked by frequent urination, disruption of the urine stream, a sense of urgency when urinating, discharge from the urethra or pain in the abdominal region. Although these symptoms may be more common as a man ages and do not necessarily point to cancer, it is still important to have prostate examinations performed regularly. A physician will also be able to test the blood to identify the antigen PSA, which is a protein that is produced in the prostate gland that can also help identify prostate cancer.
Common Symptoms of Cancer in Women
Women should be aware of the symptoms of cancer that may identify the disease in the breasts, cervix and other organs specific to female anatomy.
Symptoms of Cancer in the Breast
One of the more common symptoms of breast cancer is a lump in the breast tissue. Breast cancer may also cause redness or inflamed breast tissue, nipple changes and/or nipple discharge. This is one reason why regular self-administered and clinical cancer screenings are recommended for women. A mammogram, ultrasound and MRI may also be able to help identify breast cancer.
Women who experience bleeding between menstruation periods should have examinations, especially if the bleeding is associated with pain. Endometrial cancer is typically accompanied by abnormal bleeding and this is one of the best ways to identify it early on. A physician will typically be able to identify the presence of cancer with an ultrasound, followed by a biopsy.
Lung cancer affects both men and women and is typically associated with a persistent cough that may include blood or mucus. Difficulty breathing and chest pain should also be investigated immediately. These symptoms can indicate non-life-threatening illnesses as well, but it is nonetheless important to have a physician perform a thorough examination.
A persistent fever is another nonspecific symptom of multiple types of cancer. A fever is usually a sign of an immune system that is under attack and this is certainly the case once cancer has spread throughout the blood or lymphatic systems. Be sure to speak with your physician if the fever is accompanied by any pain or swelling in your body.
Lymph Node Problems
Finally, swelling or lumps that are present in the lymph nodes should be investigated immediately in both men and women. Lymph nodes that have grown larger over longer than a few weeks may be indicative of a variety of cancer types. Cancer spreads via the blood or lymph node systems and when this happens it can be fatal. The two most common locations of lymph node swelling will be in the armpit or neck.
These are just a few of the more common symptoms of cancer that you should be aware of. Cancer can attack almost every tissue found in the human body and this means that the symptoms of this disease can vary greatly. To learn more about the common symptoms of cancer talk to your physician.