Being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating an often life changing event and this is made worse if the diagnosis was due to medical negligence and could have been avoided. More than 367,000 new cancer cases are recorded in the UK every year according to Cancer Research UK. While around 50% survive cancer for more than 10 years afterwards, there are many whose diagnosis is too late to save them. Latest figures show that around 115,000 cancer patients in England were diagnosed too late to give them the best chance of survival.
Although it is important to heed the advice of medical professionals it is also important you look out for some symptoms that can be a sign of cancer. Here are some that you should not ignore and get checked out as soon as you can.
Cancerous lumps often tend to be painless so you can’t just wait around for them to start feeling sensitive – as that may not happen. Make sure you get swellings checked out.
While infections and viruses will go in time, a chronic cough for months is more worrying and should be assessed by a doctor.
Changes in bowel movements
Constipation and diarrhoea are two common changes that could be indicative of many non-cancerous issues, but they can also be linked to diseases like bowel cancer. Other things to look out for are a change in colour of your faeces and blood in your stool.
Needing to the toilet more frequently
Needing to urinate more often is common if you have something like diabetes, a kidney infection or a UTI, but it it can also be one of the main symptoms of prostate cancer.
Unexpected bleeding from your reproductive organs (apart from during a woman’s period) or anus is not normal and can be a sign of cancer.
Unexplained weight loss
If you haven’t been actively trying to lose weight and suddenly lose 10lbs or more it can be the first sign of cancer. This happens most often with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, oesophagus, or lung.
Extreme tiredness could be a sign of any number of chronic illness like chronic fatigue syndrome/ME but it is also sometimes a sign of cancer. Patients also tend to have other symptoms.
New or changing moles
Keep an eye out for any new moles or any changes in the size, shape or colour of existing ones as they can be related to skin cancer.
A wound, spot or mouth ulcer that won’t heal
Ulcers that don’t health within four weeks or a spot or core that doesn’t clear up within a month are potential symptoms of skin cancer.
Mouth ulcers that don’t go away can be a symptom of oral cancer – particularly if they appear on the tongue.
Unexplained or chronic pain
Aching for a few days after the gym is totally normal but having pain that you can’t account for is something that you should get checked for. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean cancer; fibromyalgia or back pain are chronic conditions but not necessarily life-threatening.
The important thing is to seek medical advice as soon as you notice any changes.