Friday, September 28, 2018

Cancer - Warning Signs & Risk Factors

I know from personal experience that ignoring health problems is bad, and self-diagnose is even worse. If you have any of the signs, symptoms, or risk factors mentioned in this article, I urge you to visit your family doctor or other medical professional. If you haven't been to the doctor for years, I strongly urge you to get a medical exam sooner, rather than later.  

There are many different types of cancer, many with specific risk factors and early warning signs. Generally speaking, possible warning signs and risk factors may include: 

Risk Factors for Cancer
  • A family history of cancer
  • Smoking or tobacco use (about 22% of all cancers are related to the use of tobacco)
  • Age (the older you are, the more likely to develop cancer)
  • Unhealthy diet, including high consumption of sugar
  • Obesity and physical inactivity (the greater the couch-potato, the greater the cancer risk)
  • Poor sleep habits (consistently failing to get adequate amounts of sleep)
  • Exposure to radiation, chemical toxins and other environmental factors
Warning Signs of Cancer
  • Changes in urination or bowel movements 
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Lumps or thickened areas in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore
  • Cough or hoarseness that doesn't go away
  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Persistent low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Repeated infections
NOTE: Having any one, or several, of these warning signs does not necessarily mean you have cancer. It is also possible to have have cancer without being aware any of these warning signs. Routine physical exams are a good idea for everyone.

Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose cancer. If you do have any of the risk factors or warning signs, please consult your doctor or other medical professional.
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This article is part of an ongoing Health Warning Signs and Risk Factors series. The previous articles in this series are:

Sources
Information presented in these articles is collected from the following websites:

  1. American Diabetes Association 
  2. American Cancer Society 
  3. American Heart Association 
  4. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 
  5. National Institutes for Health 
  6. Mayo Clinic 
  7. WebMD
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