7 Unusual Signs of Cancer
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Last updated April 24, 2017, originally published September 8, 2016

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist




Recently, I read a story about a man who had been
diagnosed with kidney cancer 30 years ago. Fortunately, the
cancer was found early enough and he survived. The man
asked his doctor, "if I hadn't caught the cancer, what would
have been the first signs I would have noticed?". The doctor
told him, "Well, you would have gone along feeling fine, and
then, you would have developed a cough, a persistent
cough, once the cancer had spread to your lungs".

That got me thinking.  What are the other unusual signs of
cancer that most people would miss? After all, who would
think that a persistent cough might in fact be the first clue
you have that you have a cancer that started in your kidneys?


Cancer is now a part of everyday life in the US and in many
other parts of the world. Certain types of cancer are
prevalent in some parts of the world but virtually unknown
in others. Stomach cancer, for example, is the third leading
cause of deaths worldwide but not so in the US. China has a
stomach cancer incidence that is 22 times larger than the
incidence in the United States, according to a
fact sheet from
the International Association of Cancer Registries.  

Overall, China had almost 7 times (6.8) more cases of cancer
in 2012 than all of Africa (1483 versus 265) and almost 7
times more cases than the countries of the Eastern
Mediterranean.  


Which is not to say that we in the US don't also have a lot to
worry about in terms of the aggregate number of cancer
cases. The US is number 9 in the world in ranking for the
total number of breast cancer cases. Curiously, 18 out of the
Top 20 countries in terms of breast cancer incidence are all
in Europe and North America and the other two are in the
Caribbean.


We have scoured the existing scientific studies to identify the
following 7  unusual signs of cancer that you might overlook:
































1.
Persistent Coughing Is Associated with Late Stage Lung
Cancer


You can develop lung cancer without smoking. One of the
reasons people who have never smoked develop lung cancer
is that a cancer in one of your organs may not present any
symptoms at all. That is, it won't present symptoms until it
spreads, metastasizing to other areas of your body. Once it
gravitates to your lungs, it has also likely spread to many
other places.  In  your lungs, a cancerous mass impairs your
breathing and you develop a cough. But this cough is
special. It never goes away. You find yourself coughing and
coughing, season in and season out, good weather and bad.  
You may find that you start to run out of reasons to explain
your cough.

In fact, people with this type of cancer often don't go to the
doctor until family members or friends just push them to do
it, because they know that a cough shouldn't last so long.

So, if you
have a persistent cough, that won't go away, act
on it. Don't assume a persistent cough is just a cough. It
could be something serious.


2.
A Croaky or Hoarse Voice Can Mean Cancer

Everyone gets hoarse every now and then. Talking too
much, laughing too much, enjoying one too many loud
karaoke bouts.  But if you have a hoarse throat or a croaky
voice for more than a few week
s, you should see a doctor,
says the Cancer Research UK, a non for profit based in
London.

One of the  reasons you may develop a hoarse throat is
because you are trying to clear your lungs of something that
can't be expelled on its own -
-- a cancerous growth.


3.
Wounds That Won't Heal Are Serious

Your body is pretty brilliant at healing itself. If a cut or sore
won't heal, it means that something is wrong. It could mean
that you have a mineral deficiency. People who are deficient
in zinc, for example, are often slow to heal. Eating oysters or
other foods rich in zinc will fix you right up if that is the
underlying reason your wound won't heal.


But, cancer is another cause of slow-healing or non-healing
wounds. So, you need to see a doctor if  that sore just won't
close up.

Cancer and wound-healing, in fact, have a lot in common.
Cancerous tumors often begin to develop at the site of a
chronic injury, according to a 2008 study from Drs. Matthias
Schäfer and Sabine Werner published in Nature Reviews
Molecular Cell Biology.


4.
Persistent Anemia That Just Won't Clear Up

Anemia is a common problem, so common that most of us
almost ignore it.  But what many people do not know is that
anemia is actually not a disease --it's a symptom. If you have
anemia, you need to find out why.

Your anemia could be caused solely by a diet that is poor in
iron. In that case, just including liver, beef or other foods
rich in iron will take care of the problem.

But anemia can also be caused by a tumor. As a tumor grows
inside your body, it can only continue growing if it is fed by
nutrient rich blood. So, to satisfy its need for iron, it may
draw down on the iron in your body, thus depleting your
body of the iron you need leaving you anemic.


5.
Heavy Sweating at Night?--Could be Lymphoma

We have written about the many causes and remedies for
night sweats. But sometimes, people experience night
sweats so terrible that their clothes literally are drenched
when they wake up.

This type of drenching sweating is a sign of lymphoma,
cancer of your lymph nodes, according to the American
Society of Clinical Oncology.


6.
If You Can't Pee When You Need to...

If you find that you can't pee when you feel you have the
urge to pee, called "urinary retention", this could mean you
have a urinary infection which a doctor can clear up with the
right antibiotic.

Or, being unable to urinate, especially if you are a man, could
mean prostate cancer. If you are a women, it could mean
pelvic cancer.


7.
Back Pain That Comes and Goes...Could be Pancreatic
Cancer

All of us have pains, especially as we get older. But a
persistent back pain that comes and goes unrelated to strain
from exercise or carrying something too heavy is another
matter entirely. Pain felt anywhere in your body is the body's
way of getting your attention, of saying "hey you, up there,
we're having a problem, get help, something is wrong".

Pancreatic cancer can express itself as a pain that comes and
goes in your back. As the cancer progresses, the pain stays
longer until you just can't ignore it.

If you have a persistent pain anywhere ---anywhere --- in
your body, take it as a helpful hint from your body that it's
time to take action and get thee to the doctor's office.














































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Back pain that comes and goes can
mean pancreatic cancer.