There are 7 warning signs of cancer

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1. Change in bowel or bladder habits

Any significant change in your bowel habits such as constipation, diarrhoea or change in the number of your stools that is persistent may be a symptom of colon cancer.

Any persistent change in bladder function such as an increase in the number of passing urine, delay in passing of urine, urinary retention, blood in urine or pain etc. whilst passing urine may be a symptom of prostate or urinary bladder cancer.

2. A sore that does not heal

Any sores on the skin, mouth, vagina or penis that does not heal may be a sign of cancer and need evaluation.

3. Unusual bleeding or discharge

Any unusual bleeding can be a symptom of cancer. Coughing up blood can be associated with lung or throat cancer, vomiting of blood with stomach or oesophagus cancer, blood in stools with colon or rectal cancer, bleeding in urine with kidney or bladder cancer and bleeding from the vagina with uterine or cervical cancer.

Pap smears if done regularly, can help identify cervical cancers early on even before symptoms appear.

4. Any breast Lump or thickening (or elsewhere)

Any significant lump in the breast, testicles or lymph nodes that do not resolve within a few days could be a symptom of cancer.

If breast cancer is identified early, then most of them can be cured with treatment. Hence regular monthly self-breast examination will help identify those women developing breast cancer early on. Similarly, testicular cancers if identified early can be cured in the majority, and self-testicular examination to identify them early on.

5. Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing

Any difficulty in swallowing or persistent indigestion problems that do not improve with regular medication may be a symptom of the throat (pharynx), food pipe (oesophagus) or stomach cancer.

6. A noticeable change in a wart or mole

Any change in wart or mole in terms to increase in size, colour or shape may indicate skin cancer or melanoma.

7. Nagging cough or hoarseness

Hoarseness of voice or cough that does not improve with regular medications may be a symptom of the throat (larynx) or lung cancer.

Some general symptoms such as unexplained weight loss or tiredness, fever, pain or any significant change in the way your body behaves may be a symptom of cancer. Contacting your health care provider is necessary for a complete evaluation.

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