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Cancer Journey: Before The Cancer Diagnosis

September  28,  2016 in

There are more than 100 different types of cancer that have been identified. Each has its own symptoms and causes, treatment protocols and survival rates.  No matter what type of cancer an individual and their family are dealing with, there was a period of time before the diagnosis when they had their suspicions but weren’t sure – when the thought of cancer crossed their mind but got brushed aside in a burst of hope and optimism. Every patient whose cancer diagnosis has been confirmed remembers that period of innocence, when their worst fears wrestled with hope.

There are many reasons to suspect that you have cancer. For some it a family history of the disease, or of an earlier exposure to a carcinogen. For others it is a series of symptoms that tell them that something is simply not right. It may be something that you didn’t notice yourself and that a health professional detected during a regular checkup, or something noticed by a friend. Even cancers that are in specific parts of the body tend to share some common symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Cancer

While each individual experience with cancer varies, there are common symptoms that can show up which include:

  • Unexplained weight loss – Most people want to lose weight and they may even mistake a sudden drop in weight to a successful diet. But if you lose ten pounds or more very quickly or with no explanation, it may be a sign of cancer of the lung, pancreas, esophagus or stomach.
  • Fever – Fever is a sign of all types of sickness, but is also one of the most common early signs of cancer. This is because fever is an indication that the immune system has been activated. It is one of the earliest signs of leukemia or lymphoma.
  • Fatigue – Being tired is something we all complain about, but if you find that your energy is not restored by a good night of sleep, then it may be a sign of leukemia, or colon or stomach cancer.
  • Skin changes – Some cancers cause rashes, itching, jaundice or hyperpigmentation. Sometimes lumps can be detected just under the skin. There are also changes that come with skin cancer.
  • Pain – Unexplained headaches that don’t resolve easily, back pain and joint pain are all common signs of cancer.

Though each of these symptoms can be benign, for many patients they are the first sign that they receive about their cancer.

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