Healthy body is a gift, as they say, and keeping it healthy is our duty. Over the years, the cases of cancer have grown in numbers and recently many kind souls have been lost due to cancer in India. The cause of ignoring the growing symptoms of cancer has led into losing our loved ones and the rate of cancer is increasing.
One has to regularly do self-check tests, ideally once every month, to look for signs and symptoms that could be an indication of cancer. Here are some suggestions from these best cancer specialists about the early symptoms of cancer that you should never ignore.
Dr P Vijay Karan Reddy, MD RT, FUICC(US), FAROI(US), FUICC(UK), ESMO (Med Onc), Consultant Oncologist – Apollo Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad
The most common cancers in India are breast cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer, and gynecological cancer. There is a steady increase in cases of prostate cancer and gastrointestinal cancers as well. Prevention methods can reduce cancer risk, but the most important and effective way of fighting cancer is through early detection.
Cancer can also cause other symptoms that are not very common. For example: prolonged fever, sudden weight loss, fatigue, unexplained loss of appetite, unexplained and prolonged back pain, prolonged headaches, dizziness, blurring of vision, or non-healing or recurring ulcers. LOOK OUT & REACH OUT! Watch out for above symptoms, identify your risk of cancer and reach out to your nearest oncologist at the right time. Early diagnosis not only improves your chance of cure but also makes the treatment easily tolerate and life after cancer possible.
Dr. Abhishek Gulia, MBBS, MD, Associate Director, Dpt. Of Oncology – Jaypee Hospital, Noida
Detecting a cancer early increases the chances of successful treatment and that too with minimal side effects. The symptoms of cancer vary according to its site of origin in the body and the tissues which it involves as it spreads. However, if we are conscious about any change in routine bowel or bladder habits, an ulcer or sore that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening or lump anywhere in the body such as breast or neck, indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, an obvious change in a pre-existing wart or mole, persistent cough or hoarseness of voice, abdomen distension, unexplained anaemia or loss of weight then we will be able to catch most cancers early.
Dr. Mishil S. Parikh & Dr. Prateek C. Hegde, MBBS, MS, Fellowship in Orthopedic Oncology – TATA Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
Bone Cancer can be caught early if we are vigilant enough. A swelling which is not associated with injury, which doesn’t go away in a couple of days and which progresses can be one of the earliest signs of Musculoskeletal Cancers.
Non-proportional pain at minor injuries is also one sign. Fracture on trivial/low velocity injury should be considered a sign of bone pathology. X-ray can promptly diagnose a pathology which can then be evaluated and treated. An Orthopaedic Oncosurgeon should be consulted. MRI followed by a Needle biopsy can very accurately diagnose a bone or soft tissue tumors.
Dr. Rajas Balkrishna Patel, MBBS, MD, Founder & CEO – RH Clinic – Cancer & Rheumatology Treatment Centre, Mumbai
As we face an increasing number of cancer cases year on year, we need to be aware of early signs and symptoms of common cancers. Most cancers are potentially curable if diagnosed in early stages, i.e., Stage 1 or early Stage 2.
Cancer is usually discovered during routine health checks or during an investigation for another disease. Patients who present to outpatient departments with cancer symptoms are diagnosed at later stages of the disease, which is incurable. Early symptoms and signs of common cancers could be unexplained weight loss, unexplained fevers, bloating or distension of the abdomen, post-menopausal bleeding, loss of appetite or feeling of fullness all the time, and changes in breasts.
Dr. Gunjesh Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, ECMO (UK), ACORD, Consultant and HOD of Medical Oncology – Bhagwaan Mahavir Medica Superspeciality Hospital, Ranchi
As with any disease or illness, the earlier the treatment begins, the better are chances of full recovery, the same holds true for cancer. The early signs of cancer are easily overlooked due to its non specific nature and similarity to other common illnesses. The common symptoms are extreme weakness, fever, unexplained weight loss, persistent pain, irregular bowel and bladder habits, rapidly growing lump, and unusual bleeding or discharge. But the mere presence of these symptoms isn’t diagnostic of cancer rather warrants timely visit to your healthcare provider and check up to rule out the same if the symptoms last for two weeks or longer.
Dr. Areendam Barua, MBBS, MS, M.CH (Surgical Oncology – AIIMS), Consultant Surgical Oncologist – Swagat Hospital, Guwahati
Cancer doesn’t forgive. We have the best shot at it if we can somehow detect it at a very early stage. Although cancer creeps in subtly and most of the time patients don’t stand a chance, recognizing the red flags can go a long way in diagnosing this deadly disease early and thus saving lives. Always remember, cancer is curable if detected early.
Although we may not be able to prevent cancer, these simple things, if kept in mind, can go a long way in preventing death from cancer. For example, a non-healing oral ulcer, a painless breast lump, difficulty swallowing, or a mole that becomes bigger and changes color.
Dr. Vivek Agarwala ECMO, MRCP (UK), MBBS, DM, DNB, MD, Director of Medical Oncology & Hemat Oncology – Narayana Superspeciality Hospital & Cancer Institute, Howrah and RN Tagore Hospital, Kolkata
Some cancers can nearly always be detected early but are still one of the highest causes of cancer related deaths due to ignorance – e.g oral cavity cancers presenting with non-healing ulcers in oral cavity, breast cancers presenting with palpable lumps, cervical and endometrial cancers with vaginal bleeding and colorectal cancers with bleeding in stools.
Few cancers like Gall Bladder, Pancreatic and Lung cancers are hardly diagnosed in early stages. But here too, if we identify high risk individuals, subtle symptoms can be thoroughly investigated to rule out cancer. For example cough lasting for more than a week in a chronic smoker can be due to lung cancer or abdominal pain or recurrent acidity in a middle-aged healthy woman from gangetic belt with gall stones raises suspicion of gall bladder cancer.
Dr. Shashank Choudhary, MBBS, MS, M.CH, Consultant – Sahara Hospital and Apollo Hospital, Lucknow
Oral cancer is often detected late because the early symptoms are not obvious. Don’t let this disease go undetected in your mouth because it can be cured completely if it’s caught early.
Some of the most common signs that point toward an oral cancer diagnosis include a non-healing ulcer, enlarged lymph nodes in your neck, persistent sore throat or change in voice or a persistent cough. Protect yourself and get screened for oral cancer before it’s too late. Treatment of oral cancer is mostly surgery and if required adjuvant radiotherapy. Chemotherapy is given in palliative settings. It’s a myth in our society that if we do surgery, cancer will metastasize. So it is very important that you visit best oncosurgeon of your city for best treatment.