Know the first signs of cancer– a leading cause of death in the United States – is extremely important for prompt treatment and better health outcomes. “Try to prevent cancer by getting your routine care, routine vaccinations, and proper screenings,” says Joyce Chen, MD. “It’s great that you are healthy, but preventative care and well visits are important because many diseases, especially cancer, can be treated properly if we catch them early.” Here are five signs of cancer you should be aware of. And to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of these 35 places where you are most likely to catch COVID.
Chronic back pain can be caused by tumors causing tissue, nerve or bone damage. “When unexplained back pain persists for a few weeks despite rest and/or self-care, it is generally recommended to see a doctor for a medical evaluation,” says Rob Dickerman, DO, PhD. “Severe back pain that interferes with daily activities, or any back pain accompanied by warning symptoms such as nausea or weight loss, requires immediate medical evaluation. For people who currently have or have had cancer , any new back pain should be evaluated by a physician immediately.”
If a mole changes color or starts to itch and bleed, it could be a sign of skin cancer. “We think some of that irritation – the itching, the bleeding – is actually the body starting to recognize [the cancer] and starts to attack him a bit, which irritates him”, says Elizabeth Buchbinder, MD, oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “And that’s why you’ll see itching, bleeding, and irritation near the mole.”
Chronic, unexplained headaches can be the result of a brain tumor. “For most individuals, a brain tumor headache is localized to a specific area and is usually worse early in the morning or at night,” says Moffitt Cancer Center. “They can be dull, pressure-like headaches that are made worse by coughing or sneezing. Over time, these headaches stop responding to over-the-counter medications.”
Unexplained lumps or swellings anywhere on the body should never be ignored, doctors say. “Adult soft tissue sarcoma is a disease in which malignant cells form in the soft tissues of the body,” says oncologist Dale Shepard, MD, PhD. “In the early stages, it rarely causes symptoms because the tumors are often located deep in the tissues.” As sarcomas grow larger, they may look like painful lumps or lumps. “Tell your doctor about new bumps or other symptoms that cannot be explained or do not go away within a few weeks,” says orthopedic surgeon Nathan W. Mesko, MD.
A sudden and unexpected diagnosis of diabetes could be a sign of pancreatic cancer, experts say. “One of the symptoms that I should bring up because it should prompt people if they suddenly develop diabetes in old age, you should look at their pancreas because that may be one of the hallmarks,” says Matthew Walsh, MD. AAnd to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of these 35 places where you are most likely to catch COVID.
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer passionate about making science and research-based information accessible to the general public. Read more