Cancer is the disease that trumps all other diseases and is one of the most difficult to treat; despite decades of research, cancer remains impossible to cure. The key to overcoming cancer has a great deal to do with when the disease is detected and treatment begins. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers; there are more new cases of skin cancer than of breast, prostrate, lung and colon cancers combined. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there have been more diagnoses for skin cancer over the past three decades than all other cancers combined.
Knowing how to identify symptoms of cancer can be a great advantage, as it will better enable a concerned individual to talk to a medical profession early, increasing the likelihood of the available treatment options being effective. Here are four signs of cancer that should never be ignored.
1) Unexplained Weight Loss
Weight loss is something many people strive for, and while most people wouldn’t complain about losing a few pounds, rapid and unexplained weight loss could be a sign of cancer. If someone experiences significant weight loss, usually 10 pounds or more, there could be a medical reason—one possible explanation being cancer. Most cancer patients drop weight at some point during their illness. Though it is more common in cancers such as pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung cancers, it can also be a symptom of skin cancer.
2) Skin Changes
One thing to watch out for as a symptom cancer is changes to the skin’s appearance, which could be a sign of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society notes that one of the precursors of skin cancer, particularly melanoma skin cancer, is a change in skin color. Other changes, like itchiness or excessive hair growth, can also be indicators of a medical issue. Any changes to the skin’s texture, color, texture or sensitivity should be discussed with the individual’s primary care physician as soon as possible.
3) Wounds That Won’t Heal
Another sign of skin cancer is the appearance of sores that don’t heal. Sores may bleed and appear normal, but if they persist for a long time they should be checked out by a doctor. Non-healing sores aren’t unique in their appearance amongst patients with cancers of the skin—long-lasting mouth sores are often seen in oral cancer patients.
4) Unusual Bleeding
Having any type of irregular bleeding is an indicator of a medical issue. The body works like a factory, with many machines that have interrelated parts that depend on one another to function. Noticing any major changes in the way one’s body works is a reason to consult a doctor. Coughing up blood or having bloody stool and urine are all signs of cancer or another serious malady and should be taken very seriously.
What to Do If Cancer is a Concern
If an individual has a family history of cancer or is concerned that they may be experiencing symptoms of cancer, there are many online resources for information on the disease. Once he or she has compared the symptoms he or she is actually experiencing against the list of symptoms related to cancer, the individual can decide whether a visit to the doctor is necessary. Medical experts agree: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If someone fears that they are experiencing symptoms of cancer, he or she should speak with a medical professional as soon as possible.