Scientists are the first to tell you that cancer is a disease that isn’t fully understood. At the same time, they agree that certain symptoms are red flags for cancer and indicate you should see a doctor ASAP to rule it out. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
Rectal bleeding is often attributed to hemorrhoids. Often, that’s what causes it. However, unless you’ve had a colonoscopy to make that diagnosis, it’s possible that blood in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper could be caused by colon or rectal cancer. Bright red or dark red blood in the stool should always be reported to your doctor immediately.
Bloating, pain or pressure from the pubic bone to below the ribcage that lasts more than two weeks are warning signs of ovarian cancer. This type of cancer is known as a “silent killer,” because early detection is difficult—there is no routine screening test, and the first symptoms can be vague and easily overlooked. According to the American Cancer Society, most ovarian cancers develop after menopause. If you have ovaries, it’s important to be alert to these potential symptoms, which can also include feeling full soon after eating.
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Many of us might consider losing weight without trying to be a stroke of luck. But weight loss without an attributable reason can be a warning sign of cancer, especially if it’s accompanied by loss of appetite or changes in bowel habits. Unexplained weight loss can signify cancer of the esophagus, liver, colon and pancreas, as well as leukemia or lymphoma. It should always be reported to your doctor right away.
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Any changes in a mole or freckle—or the appearance of new moles—could be a sign of skin cancer. Doing regular self-exams can lead to early detection of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, and can save your life. Remember ABCDE when doing skin self-exams, and tell your doctor if you see any of the following in a mole or freckle:
A = asymmetry
B = border changes
C = color changes
D = diameter changes (increase in size)
E = elevation or evolution (a growth that has changed over time)
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In most cases, a nagging cough is the sign of a cold or virus. But viruses only last for a few weeks at most. A chronic cough can be a sign of lung cancer. Any cough that persists for more than two to four weeks should be evaluated by a physician. Assessment with an X-ray or CT scan may be necessary.
And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.