7 signs of cancer : Warning Signs that Must not be Ignored

what are signs of cancer

Cancer is a disease process that usually begins when there is a genetic change (mutation) in the genes that control cell growth. This genetic changes called mutations cause abnormal and uncontrollable cell growth.

Cancer cells are almost always malignant (harmful) and they have invasive characteristics. In order words, that they easily invade other tissues and surrounding cells due to their abnormal growth, this is known as Metastasis

It is important to know that some cancer cells are Benign which means that they do not invade nearby tissues and cells and do not spread to other parts of the body like malignant cancer cells.

The mutations that causes cancer can be passed either from parent to offspring or triggered by exposure to harmful organisms and substances in the environment.

In this article, we are going to look at the risk factors of cancer, the 7 signs of cancer.

Common misconception about Cancer: Distinguishing the Fact from Fiction

Saying that cancer cells proliferate or grow at a rapid rate compared to normal cell is incorrect. Cancer cells proliferate at the same rate as normal cells.

However; normal cells proliferation is regulated according to the body’s needs. But with cancer cells proliferation is indiscriminate & continuous proliferating cells rely on Telomeres at the end of chromosomes consisting of repeated genetic code.

Each time a cell divides the telomeres gets shorter and a small sequence of genetic material is not copied, eventually the telomeres reach a critical length and then the cell is unable to undergo further cell division and cell death occurs.

Cancer cells produce an enzyme Telomerase that prevents telomere shortening, hence promoting immortality of the cell.

Major Defects Present In Cancer Cellular Proliferation

1. Stem cells are present in most human cells, stem cells are viewed as target and or origin of cancer cells.

2. According to stem cell theory, a mutation of stem cells results from loss of intracellular control of proliferation or growth.

3. Normal cells exhibit contact inhibition which means that they respect boundaries or territories of neighbouring cells. However, cancer cells lack contact inhibition, they grow on top of one another or between normal cells.

4. Cell division in cancer is dysregulated & haphazard.

Risk Factors and Agents that can Cause Cancer

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Radiation
  • Chronic irritants
  • Tobacco
  • Asbestos
  • Age
  • Diet high in free radicals, sulphites, nitrates and other additives
  • Hormones
  • Toxic chemical such as pesticides
  • Air pollution
  • Fried foods
  • Hormones
  • Role of the immune system

7 Signs of Cancer

To remember the 7 signs of cancer use the MNEMONIC CAUTION

Changes in bowel or bladder habits

A sore that does not heal

Unusual bleeding or discharge

Thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body

 Indigestion or difficulty swallowing

Obvious change in a wart or mole

Nagging cough or hoarseness

Changes in bowel or bladder Habitsrisk factors for prostate cancer

To put things plainly, this is basically when you start noticing changes in your pees and poops. This may be anything from ongoing constipation, diarrhea, occasional pain when passing stool and a change in the size of your stools are all reasons for concern. By the same token, if you are having difficulty passing urine or notice blood in your urine, you should have it checked out as soon as possible. Prostate cancer is one example of a cancer that usually presents with a change in bladder habits.

A sore that does not healfactors that increase risk of cancer

A sore that does not heal is a typical sign of cancer. They are usually Persistent and recurrent and do not heal despite treatments.

Cancers that commonly present as sores that do not heal are oral cancer, skin cancers and cancers of the genitals. If you are experiencing this symptom, you should be examined by your nurse practitioner or doctor.

Unusual bleeding or discharge

Bleeding from any part of your body should be a reason for concern as that is not normal. If you notice blood in your saliva, stool, urine, mouth, vagina, penis and so on please let your nurse practitioner or doctor know.

Bloody streaks in your phlegm or nasal mucus are also reason for concern. Foul smelling discharge or blood from your vagina should be looked at by your doctor. In most cases this merely indicates an infection, but have it checked out anyway.

Cancers that commonly present in this way are lung cancers(coughing up blood), uterine cancer or cervix cancer (bleeding or discharge from the vagina)

Thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body

Any lump or bump that enlarges, hardens or changes the skin above should be examined for possibility of being cancerous.

For adults, be sure to palpate your breasts and testicles should regularly be palpated to check for any changes in contour, size, and hardness. It is important to remember that cancerous growths are in most cases painless.

Indigestion or difficulty swallowingfoods that increase the risk of cancer

Indigestion and difficulty swallowing very common with cancers of the throat or neck because as the cancer tumor grows the surrounding area such as the esophagus become narrowed which causes difficulty in swallowing. In addition, cancer also causes indigestion especially in esophageal cancer. If you are experiencing any of this symptom seek medical help.

Obvious change in a wart or mole

If you have a mole or wart and all of a sudden for some reasonlung cancer sign and symptom you notice that there are changes in the shape, contour, color or size that should be a reason for concern, you should seek medical help pronto.

Nagging cough or hoarseness

Having a nagging cough or persistent hoarseness may indicate cancer of the larynx or any structure of the neck. A change in your voice that does not go away is also another sign and you should seek medical help for further investigation.

Bottom Line

It is important to note that the above symptoms can also arise due to less serious conditions are not always a sign of cancer and under no circumstance should the information in this article be used as a medical diagnosis for cancer.

Be sure to see your nurse practitioner or doctor if you have any of these symptoms for accurate diagnosis. Please always visit your nurse practitioner or doctor for regular checkups. Do not wait to feel pain, as early cancer usually does not cause any pain.

Finally, the warning signs of cancer that an individual experience may depend highly on the type of cancer (Malignant or benign) and the area of the body affected (e.g breast, lung, brain, stomach, prostate etc).

If you have any feedback, questions or concerns about this article. I would love to hear from you. Kindly leave your comments in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading

Warm Regards