Rogue Cells

Cancer is a disease that begins as a renegade human cell over which the body has lost control. In order for the body and its organs to function properly, cell growth needs to be strictly regulated. Cancer cells, however, continue to divide and multiply at their own speed, forming abnormal lumps, or tumors. An estimated 6.7 million people currently die from cancer every year.

What Are the Symptoms of Cancer?

In its early stages, cancer usually has no symptoms, but eventually a malignant tumor will grow large enough to be detected. As it continues to grow, it may press on nerves and produce pain, penetrate blood vessels and cause bleeding, or interfere with the function of a body organ or system.

The Seven Warning Signs of Cancer

To remember the seven early warning signs of cancer (as designated by the American Cancer Society), think of the word CAUTION:

C hange in bowel or bladder habits.

A sore that does not heal.

U nusual bleeding or discharge.

T hickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere.

I ndigestion or difficulty swallowing.

O bvious change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore.

N agging cough or hoarseness.

The following symptoms may also signal the presence of some form of cancer:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained loss of weight or appetite
  • Chronic pain in bones
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Persistent low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
  • Repeated instances of infection

Call Your Doctor About Cancer If:

You develop symptoms that may signal cancer, are not clearly linked to another cause, and persist for more than two weeks. You should schedule a medical examination. If the cause of your symptoms is cancer, early diagnosis and treatment will offer a better chance of cure.