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Discuss these symptoms with your doctor

Discuss these symptoms with your doctor
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You won’t always get a lump or a bump with cancer, the signs can be much less obvious. However, keep in mind that many of these so-called cancer symptoms can also be due to other benign or non-cancer-related health issues as well. It’s key to discuss any of the following symptoms with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

A lump in the front of the neck

A lump in the front of the neck
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A suspicious neck lump could be a sign of lung, throat, thyroid or breast cancer as well as leukaemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and some forms of skin cancer. While the lumps can be benign or non-cancerous, they’re a bigger concern if you also have risk factors like smoking, drinking, or you’re getting up there in years. Endocrinologist, Dr Michael Tuttle, says to pay attention to how the lump behaves. “The trick is (thyroid nodules) move up and down when you swallow,” Dr Tuttle says. “Most other lumps don’t move.”

Here are some more thyroid facts everyone should know.

Yellowing skin

Yellowing skin
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Jaundice is the medical term for yellowing skin and eyes, and it comes from bile build up –  an indication that your body isn’t able to break bile down. “Jaundice is one of the clearest symptoms of pancreatic cancer,” says gastroenterologist, Dr Christopher Di Maio. “Often, patients feel fine until one day a friend notices their eyes look yellow, then they go to the doctor and find they have advanced pancreatic cancer.” Jaundice can also cause your skin to itch. Yellowing skin is a symptom of gallbladder and liver cancers, as well as many other diseases and conditions.

Noticeable changes in a wart or mole

Noticeable changes in a wart or mole
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Changes in colour, shape or size, of a wart, mole or freckle could be melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Having fair skin is a primary risk factor, although people of any skin colour can get a melanoma; see a dermatologist yearly, particularly if your complexion is fair, you have a family history of melanoma, or you have more than 50 moles on your body, recommends dermatologist, Dr Anna Di Nardo. If any freckles, beauty marks or moles start to bleed, speak with your dermatologist.

Protect your skin with these summer skincare tips dermatologists follow.

Persistent stomach or abdominal pain

Persistent stomach or abdominal pain
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You may think your abdominal pain is simply indigestion or period cramps. However, if the discomfort locates itself in the upper-right abdomen region, this could be a symptom of gallbladder cancer. Persistent stomach cramps could also be a symptom of leukaemia or oesophageal, liver, pancreatic, colorectal or testicular cancer.

Stomach bloating

Stomach bloating
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Ovarian, pancreatic, stomach, colon, liver, uterine and breast cancers could all cause severe abdominal bloating. “With ovarian cancer, not only can tumours grow quite large, but they can result in fluid growing around them, which can cause pretty dramatic abdominal extension,” says associate professor Dr Amanda Fader. If your abdomen is growing while your face and arms are losing muscle and fat, it may not be just weight gain.

Follow these tips to eat your way to a bloat-free belly.

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Persistent headaches

Persistent headaches
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Telling the difference between a common headache and headaches from cancer is challenging – even for doctors. The best indicator of cancer, however, is a new daily headache that won’t go away with treatment, such as over-the-counter painkillers, according to associate professor, Dr Mike Chen. “These headaches tend to get worse over time and often happen first thing in the morning when intracranial pressure is high from lying in bed for long periods of time,” he says. However, there’s no specific type of headache that can predict whether or not a person has a brain tumour. Cancers in the brain, spinal cord and upper throat, as well as some forms of lymphoma, pituitary gland tumours and other cancers that spread to the brain, may also cause headaches.

Difficulty forming words

Difficulty forming words
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Oral and brain cancers can impact speech, especially ones in the frontal or temporal lobes. People can lose basic motor functions like speech and language comprehension and end up stuttering or have difficulty naming objects, says Dr Christopher Carrubba. In the case of oral cancer in your lips, gums, tongue and throat, speech problems occur if cancer changes how any part of your mouth moves.

 

Abnormal bleeding from your reproductive tract

Abnormal bleeding from your reproductive tract
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“The most common subtle signs of cervical cancer are abnormal bleeding of any kind,” says associate professor in gynecologic oncology, Dr John Moroney. This includes bleeding in between periods, heavier-than-usual menstruation, or bleeding after menopause. Other cancers that cause abnormal vaginal bleeding are cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancers.

A painless lump in your testicle

A painless lump in your testicle
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One of the most common testicular cancer symptoms is a pain-free mass in the testis, according to clinical associate professor of urology, Dr Joseph Harryhill. “It is important for men to realise that a tumour often does not cause any significant discomfort – thus the importance of regular testicular self-examination,” Dr Harryhill says. Many times men will not notice the mass until they receive an unrelated injury, bringing the tumour to their attention. Moral of the story: make sure you check yourself regularly for lumps and bumps.

Did you know that these jobs that can increase your risk for cancer?

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