Usually, heartburn is a sign of acid reflux. However, persistent heartburn might be related to esophageal cancer or Barrett’s esophagus.
In May 2012, the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology has published a study which explains that chronic heartburn can cause inflammation of the tissue lining in the esophagus that in turn raises the risk of esophageal cancer. Furthermore, in 2013, the American Journal of Cell Physiology has published the research conducted by scientists at Rhode Island Hospital, which explains the link between Barrett’s esophagus and the esophageal cancer development.
8. Bowel Issues
Four-week or longer lasting unexplained changes in the bowel habits can indicate bowel cancer, especially in older people. In such cases, consult your doctor.
9. Difficulty Swallowing
Problems with swallowing, or feeling chunks of food stuck in your chest or throat that worsen with time, might indicate throat or esophageal cancer. Other warning signs of these types of cancer include burning sensation or pain when swallowing food. In most cases, esophageal cancer doesn’t show any initial symptoms, so don’t ignore these if they do appear. Problems with swallowing can also be one of the initial warning signs of lung cancer.
This condition is characterized by yellowing the whites of the eyes and the skin. Typically, jaundice is a symptom of gallbladder or liver disease, but it can as well be a sign of pancreatic cancer which disrupts the functioning of liver and bile duct.
11. Unusual Swelling or Lumps
If you notice a strange lump on your groin, testicle, breast, underarm, abdomen, neck, or any other part of your body that lasts for 3 weeks or more, make an appointment with your doctor ASAP. Sometimes, a lump or enlarged lymph node under the arm can indicate breast cancer, Swollen, red and sore breasts can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.
12. New or Changing Moles or Skin Spots
Although most skin changes are not dangerous and don’t cause pain, doctors recommend screening for cancer if you notice:
- new spots, growths, or sores on the skin that don’t heal
- changes in color, symmetry, diameter, or border of your existing mole
13. Nail Changes
Although strange changes in your fingernails can appear for many reasons, they can also be warning signs of skin, lung, or liver cancer.
- brown or black spots under fingernails can be a sign of skin cancer
- enlarged ends of the nails (clubbing of the toes or fingers) can be linked with lung cancer. This problem is caused by conditions which lower the amount of oxygen in the blood
- white or pale nails can indicate poor functioning of the liver caused by many diseases, such as liver cancer
14. Abdominal or Pelvic Pain
Lower abdominal or pelvic pain followed by pelvic heaviness and changes in the bowel habits can indicate ovarian cancer. The chances of developing this type of cancer are higher in:
- women with a family history of ovarian, colorectal, or breast cancer
- women who have never been pregnant
- women diagnosed with colon, breast, uterine, or rectal cancer
In addition, pain in the pelvic area might indicate leukemia or uterine cancer.
15. Unusual Pain Lasting Longer than 4 Weeks
Pains and aches can be caused by numerous reasons. However, pain occurring for no apparent reason which comes and go, or stays for a period of 4 weeks or more, needs to be checked by a doctor as it may indicate testicular or bone cancer.
16. Abnormal Bleeding
Besides being a sign of a urinary tract infection, blood in the urine can also indicate kidney or bladder cancer. In the same way, blood in stools can indicate bowel cancer, although it is a typical sign of hemorrhoids. Signs of uterine or endometrial cancer include bleeding after menopause or between periods. Although rarely, sometimes vaginal bleeding can indicate vaginal cancer. Similarly, one of the warning signs of colorectal cancer is bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.
Excessive and persistent bruising and bleeding might be a warning symptom of leukemia. Coughing or vomiting blood can indicate lung and esophageal, or stomach cancer respectively. Although the reason for abnormal bleeding is not cancer in most cases, it can indicate other serious conditions and diseases that require proper medical examination. Besides doing the recommended cancer screenings and regular health check-ups, make sure you pay attention to the symptoms described in this post.
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