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10 warning signs of cancer

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011
The Star/Asia News Network
By Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar

FOR some women, cancer comes hand-in-hand with another syndrome: denial. They may not want to face the reality that they have cancer, or may not want to go through treatment because they think they are doomed to death anyway.

In some cases, denial starts early on at the symptom stage, because they may not even want to consider that it could be cancer at all.

When women neglect to pay attention to cancer symptoms out of denial, fear or ignorance, they could be missing out on a valuable opportunity to detect cancer and treat it early.

Since there are so many different types of cancers that could affect us, the symptoms vary widely between different conditions and different people as well. There are also many instances where cancers do not produce symptoms at all, or symptoms only appear at late stages.

However, we can easily identify about 10 symptoms that should immediately send up warning flags in our minds and prompt us to seek medical advice. These symptoms can be easily mistaken for other conditions or as benign symptoms, but you shouldn't be so quick to shrug them off without proper medical advice.

I will explain each of these 10 symptoms below.

#1: Unexplained weight loss

Say you haven't been exercising more than usual lately, or have not even been exercising at all. Or you haven't gone on a diet and have been eating the amounts that you usually do. Yet you've been steadily losing a significant amount of weight, for instance 4kg or 5kg within a month.

This kind of unexplained weight loss is not necessarily a reason to be happy. It could be a sign of cancer, especially cancer of the colon or other parts of the digestive system.

You should see your doctor and provide as much details as possible about when you began losing weight and how much you have lost. Your doctor will conduct some tests to rule out an overactive thyroid and ask you to undergo CT scans to look at your internal organs.

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