When it comes to your health, you ultimately bear the greatest responsibility. Choosing to ignore the signs and symptoms of an illness can have serious implications. Although some signs and symptoms are very common, they can sometimes be linked to a very serious illness. While I don’t want to scare you, it is best to know what some of these common symptoms could mean, so you can possibly catch the disease before it’s really developed and start on the path to recovery as quickly as possible. With that in mind, here are five signs that could mean you have cancer.
Rapid weight loss: One of the signs you might have cancer is if you start to drop a lot of weight without making any significant changes to your diet or exercise habits. Unexplained weight loss—if you lose 10 pounds or more—can be an early sign of cancer. If you notice a difference in your appearance, weight, or strength, it’s important to get to a doctor as quickly as possible. Ignoring these lost pounds could prove deadly. The sooner you can catch it, the better your chances are of recovery. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Fever: A fever is a common symptom of many illnesses, and cancer is no different. According to the American Cancer Society, almost everyone who gets cancer will experience fever. Most common in cancers that attack the immune system, fevers related to cancer are a very common symptom. If you are noticing your temperature’s becoming elevated more often than normal, it could be a warning sign and you should get to the doctor.
Extreme fatigue: Cancer can make a person very tired for absolutely no reason. It’s not uncommon for growing cancer cells to use up much of the body’s energy, leaving a person in a constant state of exhaustion. This level of extreme fatigue cannot be remedied with rest, and it makes it very difficult to complete even simple tasks. Aside from robbing you of your energy, cancer can also cause you to lose blood in ways that are not obvious, contributing to lower blood levels that result in fatigue.
Pain: Like the previous symptoms listed, pain is a common symptom of a variety of illnesses. But chronic or extreme pain in certain areas can indicate the presence of cancerous cells. Bone and testicular cancers, for example, can cause pain in the region where the cancer resides. The same goes for brain tumors, and you can experience back pain with colon, rectal, or ovarian cancer. If pain suddenly creeps up on you and you don’t know why, it’s a wise decision to schedule a visit to the doctor.
Skin discoloration: Another sign of cancer is changes in skin color. If you experience darker skin (not resulting from a suntan), have a yellowish or greenish tinge to your skin, have yellow eyes, or have reddened skin, these could all be signs of cancer.
Ignoring or denying these signs could end up costing you. A man who was close to my family, for example, ignored almost all of the symptoms I just listed. I remember seeing him after a long time in between visits and was shocked at his appearance. He’d lost about 50 pounds and his skin was almost green. He was finally convinced he had to go to the doctor and was dead from throat cancer eight months later. If he’d gone to the doctor when his symptoms began to show, he might still be alive today.
But you don’t have to wait for the signs and symptoms to appear to take action. The best way to gauge your chances of getting cancer is to look at your lifestyle. Are you smoking or drinking excessively? Do you eat a healthy diet and get sufficient exercise? Lifestyle plays a big role and by making some changes, you can prevent your chances of developing certain cancers. It’s never too late to start living better and it’s never too early to have yourself checked for cancer, especially if you experience any one or more of the above signs. Take care and protect yourself before it’s too late!