Here, we take a look at the 10 symptoms researchers consider to be red flags. While they could be nothing, the researchers say the point is to recognize that they could also be cancer—and to ask your doctor to check your symptoms out.
1. Persistent Cough or Hoarseness
While a cough here and there is nothing to worry about, a consistent cacophony or a cough accompanied by blood is definitely cause for concern.
Most coughs are not cancer, But certainly a persistent cough needs to be evaluated to see if it could be lung cancer. Your physician should recommend a chest X-ray or CT scan to rule out cancer as a possibility.
2. Persistent Change in Bowel Habits
When your bowel movements aren’t as easy as they once were or your stool appears larger than normal or somewhat deformed, this could be a sign of colon cancer.
3. Persistent Change in Bladder Habits
If there is blood in the urine, that could be indicative of bladder or kidney cancer—but more commonly this is a sign of a urinary tract infection.
4. Persistent Unexplained Pain
Most pain is not a sign of cancer, but persistent pain must be checked out. If you have persistent headaches, for example, you likely don’t have brain cancer—but it is still something that must be looked into. Persistent pain in the chest could be a sign of lung cancer. And pain in your abdomen could be ovarian cancer.
5. Change in the Appearance of a Mole
While not all moles are indicative of melanoma, spotting a new mark or one that has changed is something you should bring up with a dermatologist who can screen for skin cancer.
6. A Sore That Does Not Heal
If you have a sore that’s hanging on past the three-week mark, you should bring it up with your doctor. That kind of sore could be a sign of carcinoma.
7. Unexpected Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding—outside of your normal cycle—could be an early sign of cervical cancer, while bleeding from the rectum could indicate colon cancer.
8. Unexplained Weight Loss
As adults, we try very hard to lose weight. But if weight is falling off of you without any effort on your part, that is a big concern and can be indicative of a serious medical problem.
9. An Unexplained Lump
Any time you have a lump that is new or a lump that is changing, that is something you should absolutely have looked at by your doctor. A lump in the breast, of course, is a very common symptom of breast cancer.
10. Persistent Difficulty Swallowing
Two cancers may be behind this symptom, including neck and esophageal cancer. People who see these symptoms will often start to modify their diets, eating softer foods without thinking there could be a more serious issue.”
“The bottom line, is that if people are experiencing any persistent symptoms, they should go to their doctor for advice.