Symptoms of the Common Cancers

Each year statistics show that the number of cancer cases newly diagnosed continues to rise however advances in diagnostic procedures and treatments means that more and more lives are being saved. Not surprisingly, even more people could survive cancer if they knew the common signs and symptoms to look for because the earlier that cancer is diagnosed the better the chance of curing it.

This article will outline the main symptoms that are often experienced by sufferers of the most common forms of cancer. These symptoms can vary between people and so it may be that while some people experience all of the symptoms others may only have one or two.

Most common cancer in males

· Prostate cancer

Most common cancer in females

· Breast cancer

Most prevalent cancers common to both males and females

· Lung cancer
· Colon/rectal cancer

Below are the most common symptoms that a sufferer of these cancers may experience and which may help to secure an early diagnosis:

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

The early symptoms of prostate cancer are often ignored until they start to become a nuisance. These symptoms include:

· An inability to urinate even though the sufferer has an urge to go
· Prolonged urination that may take longer than normal to complete
· Frequent urination that gets worse during the night hours
· The feeling of needing to pass more urine even though there is none left
· Slight incontinence caused by the bladder failing to release the last drops of urine

Unfortunately the same set of symptoms can be caused by at least two other prostate complaints and so a diagnosis of prostate cancer is often delayed i.e. it is masked by one of the other two conditions.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

It is very rare for breast cancer symptoms to become apparent in the diseases early stages. When symptoms do occur they usually only affect one breast and may include:

· A lump in the breast which is usually painless and may be located deep within the breast tissue or just under the skin
· Dimpling of the skin in the area of the lump, or swelling of the skin with an ‘orange peel’ appearance
· Inversion of the nipple
· A bloodstained nipple discharge

If breast cancer is not treated it can quickly spread to the nearby lymph nodes and then to other organs, such as the lungs, liver and bones where it causes additional symptoms. Breast cancer statistics suggest that the number of newly diagnosed cases remains steady however the number of deaths is falling. This may be because of advances in treatment however it may also be because breast cancer awareness is now one of the major subjects in the public eye.

Lung Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of lung cancer depend on how far advanced the tumour is however the initial symptoms may include:

· A new persistent cough, or a change in a long standing cough, sometimes with blood-streaked sputum
· Chest pain which may be felt as a dull ache or as a sharp pain that is worse on inhaling
· Shortness of breath
· Wheezing if the tumour is blocking an airway
· Abnormal curvature of the finger nails, known as clubbing

Secondary lung cancer i.e. cancer that originates elsewhere in the body and travels to the lungs, may not cause any symptoms or alternatively very mild symptoms and so anybody experiencing even slight symptoms should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Again colon cancer can remain undetected for a number of years and any early symptoms are attributed to other less serious conditions. The symptoms to look out for include:

· The presence of blood in the stools
· Anaemia i.e. pale skin, tiredness etc.
· A change in normal bowel movements that last longer than a few days
· A feeling of needing another bowel movement even though you have just been
· Other digestive symptoms i.e. nausea, vomiting, bloatedness, stomach cramps or a constant stomach ache, trapped gas.

Even though these symptoms are described as early symptoms they are in reality late symptoms and more often than not the cancer is in a late stage when it is finally diagnosed. In some cases the primary tumour i.e. that in the colon, fails to exhibit any symptoms at all and the sufferer only realises they are ill when the cancer spreads to other areas of the body and secondary symptoms are felt there.