Ten ‘Red Flag’ Symptoms That Could Mean You Have Cancer

Ten “red flag” symptoms that could be signs of different types of cancer were highlighted in a new report published Wednesday.

Daily Mail reports that Cancer Research UK urges the general public to pay close attention to these ten “red flag” cancer symptoms for the sake of being able to detect a confirmed diagnosis as soon as possible.

According to the list, such symptom as persistent coughs and long-lasting sores are just two of the signs that need to be closely examined.

The list not only names the symptom itself, but also references the type of cancer that could possibly be connected to it.

  1. Persistent cough (hoarseness): Lung Cancer
  2. Persistent changes in bowel habits: Bowel Cancer
  3. Persistent difficulty swallowing: Esophageal Cancer
  4. Persistent change in bladder habits: Bladder Cancer or Prostate Cancer (men)
  5. Persistent unexplained pain: Depends on location (could relate to multiple types)
  6. Sore that doesn’t heal: Depends on location (ex: mouth ulcer possibly a sign of mouth cancer)
  7. Unexplained bleeding: Bowel, Cervical or Vulval Cancer (depends on location)
  8. Unexplained weight loss: A symptom of several types of cancer
  9. Unexplained lump: A symptom of several types of cancer
  10. Mole with changing appearance: Skin Cancer

According to the study, the odds of being diagnosed with some type of cancer at some point in a person’s life has a lot to do with when they were born. For people born after 1960, the odds are reportedly one in two people.

With this type of exponentially growing risk, experts believe that up to 66 percent of today’s children will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in the future.

Cancer Research UK is using this list of “red flag” cancer symptoms to stress the importance of scheduling an appointment with a physician as soon as possible if at least one of the ten symptoms are noticed.

The problem is that many people seem to sweep these symptoms under the rug. Dr. Katriina Whitaker, a University College London senior research fellow, conducted interviews and surveys as part of a study.

According to Whitaker, nearly half of the people interviewed displayed at least one “red flag” cancer symptom “but felt these were trivial” so did not report them.

For example, one respondent suffering from persistent abdominal pain explained why she strayed away from being tested.

“At times, I thought it was bad…but when it kinds of fades away, you know, it doesn’t seem worth pursuing really.”

Another respondent even explained what they thought about visiting the doctor excessively.

“You’ve just got to get on with it. And if you go to the doctor too much, it’s seen as a sign of weakness or that you are not strong enough to manage things on your own.”

The study placed a spotlight on several other reasons why the people interviewed did not have their symptoms examined by a doctor. For instance, some allowed their fear of a cancer diagnosis to prevent them from going. Others even blamed their symptoms on aging.

It is still highly recommended to have these “red flag” cancer symptoms examined closely by a physician, especially if it is persistent.

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