Early Cancer Detection
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
If you can't prevent cancer, the next best thing you can do to protect your health is to detect it early. Recognizing symptoms, getting regular check-ups, and performing self-exams are just a few ways you can do this. The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering.
Lump or swelling in breast or underarm area, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or retractions, redness or scaliness of nipple or breast skin, discharge other than breast milk.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding may start and stop between regular menstrual periods or it may occur after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam, menstrual bleeding may last longer and be heavier then usual, bleeding after menopause, increased vaginal discharge.
Colon and Rectum Cancer
Rectal bleeding, blood in stool, change in bowel habits, cramping pain in lower abdomen.
Lung and Bronchus Cancer
Persistent cough, recurring pneumonia or bronchitis, chest pain, often aggravated by deep breathing, weight loss or loss of appetite, bloody or rust-colored spit or phlegm, shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness.
Need to urinate frequently, especially at night, difficulty starting urine or holding back urine, inability to urinate, weak or interrupted flow of urine, painful or burning urination, blood in urine or semen, difficulty having an erection, pain in pelvic bone, spine, hips, or ribs.
A simple ABCD rule outlines warning signals of melanoma:
- Asymmetry - one half of mole does not match the other half
- Border irregularity - edges are ragged, notched, or blurred
- Color - pigmentation is not uniform, with variable degrees of tan, brown, or black
- Diameter greater than 6 millimeters: any sudden or progressive increase in size should be of concern
*Any of these symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious, health problems. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor.