Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
What are signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms are both signals of injury, illness, disease – signals that something is not right in the body.
A sign is a signal that can be seen by someone else – maybe a loved one, or a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional. For example, fever, fast breathing, and abnormal lung sounds heard through a stethoscope may be signs of pneumonia.
A symptom is a signal that’s felt or noticed by the person who has it, but may not be easily seen by anyone else. For example, weakness, aching, and feeling short of breath may be symptoms of pneumonia.
Having one sign or symptom may not be enough to figure out what’s causing it. For example, a rash in a child could be a sign of a number of things, such as poison ivy, measles, a skin infection, or a food allergy. But if the child has the rash along with other signs and symptoms like a high fever, chills, achiness, and a sore throat, then a doctor can get a better picture of the illness. Sometimes, a patient’s signs and symptoms still don’t give the doctor enough clues to be sure what’s causing the illness. Then medical tests, such as x-rays, blood tests, or a biopsy may be needed.
How does cancer cause signs and symptoms?
Cancer is a group of diseases that can cause almost any sign or symptom. The signs and symptoms will depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects the organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.
As a cancer grows, it can begin to push on nearby organs, blood vessels, and nerves. This pressure causes some of the signs and symptoms of cancer. If the cancer is in a critical area, such as certain parts of the brain, even the smallest tumor can cause symptoms.
But sometimes cancer starts in places where it won’t cause any signs or symptoms until it has grown quite large. Cancers of the pancreas, for example, usually don’t cause symptoms until they grow large enough to press on nearby nerves or organs (this causes back or belly pain). Others may grow around the bile duct and block the flow of bile. This causes the eyes and skin to look yellow (jaundice). By the time a pancreatic cancer causes signs or symptoms like these, it’s usually in an advanced stage. This means it has grown and spread beyond the place it started – the pancreas.
A cancer may also cause symptoms like fever, extreme tiredness (fatigue), or weight loss. This may be because cancer cells use up much of the body’s energy supply, or they may release substances that change the way the body makes energy from food. Cancer can also cause the immune system to react in ways that produce these signs and symptoms.
Sometimes, cancer cells release substances into the bloodstream that cause symptoms that are not usually linked to cancer. For example, some cancers of the pancreas can release substances that cause blood clots in veins of the legs. Some lung cancers make hormone-like substances that raise blood calcium levels. This affects nerves and muscles, making the person feel weak and dizzy.
How are signs and symptoms helpful?
Treatment works best when cancer is found early – while it’s still small and is less likely to have spread to other parts of the body. This often means a better chance for a cure, especially if the cancer can be removed with surgery.
A good example of the importance of finding cancer early is melanoma skin cancer. It can be easy to remove if it has not grown deep into the skin. The 5-year survival rate (percentage of people who live at least 5 years after diagnosis) at this early stage is around 98%. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate drops to about 16%.
Sometimes people ignore symptoms. Maybe they don’t know that the symptoms could mean something is wrong. Or they might be frightened by what the symptoms could mean and don’t want to get medical help. Maybe they just can’t afford to get medical care.
Some symptoms, such as tiredness or coughing, are more likely caused by something other than cancer. Symptoms can seem unimportant, especially if there’s a clear cause or the problem only lasts a short time. In the same way, a person may reason that a symptom like a breast lump is probably a cyst that will go away by itself. But no symptom should be ignored or overlooked, especially if it has lasted a long time or is getting worse.
Most likely, symptoms are not caused by cancer, but it’s important to have them checked out, just in case. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what the cause is and treat it, if needed.
Sometimes, it’s possible to find cancer before having symptoms. The American Cancer Society and other health groups recommend cancer-related check-ups and certain tests for people even though they have no symptoms. This helps find certain cancers early, before symptoms start. But keep in mind, even if you have these recommended tests, it’s still important to see a doctor if you have any symptoms.
What is Sarcoma Cancer? How to Prevent Sarcoma and Other Cancers
Sarcoma cancer and its prevention does not generally get a lot of publicity. It is not one of the more common forms of cancer, although sarcoma is one of the most prevalent types of childhood cancers. Yet this year alone, over 12,000 Americans will be diagnosed with sarcoma cancer and 5,000 will die from it. If you’re not familiar with sarcoma, this article will help to answer the question of: what is sarcoma cancer? And will also give you strategies for preventing sarcoma and other types of cancer.
Sarcoma cancers are often referred to as “soft tissue cancers” or rhabdomyosarcoma. Those soft tissues include the muscles, tendons, cartilage, and even soft tissues of organs that are primarily connecting tissues. Perhaps a more accurate description would be “soft and connecting tissue cancers,” since sarcoma often starts in skeletal muscles and then often easily spreads into the bones.
Diagnosis is considered trickier for sarcoma cancer than more common carcinoma cancers that have their tumors on actual active organs. Many obvious soft tissue lumps on the skin are merely encysted fats or lipid lumps. In addition, actual sarcomas are often not painful, making awareness more difficult. They become dangerous by infecting nearby lymph systems or are simply swept up by lymph, then circulate into other functioning organs in the body.
Other Important Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
Speaking of water, don’t rely on bottled water unless it really does come from an actual spring with minerals intact and is bottled in glass or BPA (Bisphenol A) free plastics. Most have neither. Play detective and go online with various bottled water sources you see.
Tap water is almost always contaminated with chlorine, and many city water systems add carcinogenic fluoride to their water. Unless you’re blessed with having a spring or personal well, your best bet is to always filter your water. Good options include the Turapur water filters, and water filters and systems made by Berkey. There are also reverse osmosis / activated charcoal water filtering systems available in supermarkets and health foods stores at 25 to 50 cents a gallon.
Use your filtered water for drinking and cooking, but also be aware these processes may remove some minerals so it’s wise to add real sea salt or mineral salts sold for that purpose. Drinking pure, clean water for cancer prevention cannot be emphasized enough.
With our modern-day farming practices, even store-bought organic food sources may come from mineral depleted soil. As a result, using good quality supplements can be a wise health investment.
There are many commercial household items, such as laundry and dish detergents that contain carcinogens. Even without skin contact, they give off gas toxic fumes when used. Plastics and cosmetics with carcinogenic compounds should be thrown out. Fire preventative chemicals used on furniture and carpeting are also carcinogenic.
Get rid of your microwave. The extremely rapid high frequency alternating microwave pulses torque molecules and interfere with the DNA of items “nuked.” So what you eat is essentially genetically altered.
Finally, when it comes to preventing cancers as well as fighting cancers, regular periodic cleanses to flush the toxins out of your body are essential in this author’s opinion. Ideally, you should cleanse the entire body including the colon, lymphatic system, liver, and kidneys.