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10 warning signs of cancer

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

#6: Difficulty swallowing and constant indigestion

Have you found it difficult to swallow your food lately? If you feel as if food is always caught in your throat when you eat, take note of this, as it could be a symptom of oesophageal or throat cancer.

Repetitive indigestion, not linked to pregnancy or any other apparent reason, is also a red flag. If you constantly feel nauseous, discomfort or a burning feeling in your upper abdomen, or vomit blood, you could be showing early signs of oesophageal, stomach or throat cancer.

#7: Persistent pain, fever or cough

These are three of the most vague and common symptoms that accompany many illnesses. It is extremely difficult to pinpoint them to cancer or any particular condition, but they are also not to be ignored or neglected.

Unexplained pain, in any part of the body, may point to some cancers. If it persists over a period of time, and cannot be attributed to any obvious physical wounds or conditions, then you should see your doctor and describe it in as much detail as possible.

Take note of when the pain arises, what kind of pain it is, and what exacerbates it.

A fever is often a sign of an infection, like influenza or some other viral or bacterial infection, but it can also point to certain types of cancer. The American Cancer Society says that fever is one of the symptoms that occur with early blood cancers such as leukaemia or lymphoma.

Of course, you do not have to run to your doctor in fear every time you have a fever. The point is that unexplained and prolonged fever needs to be examined, not ignored.

A very prolonged cough (one that lasts more than three or four weeks) that is unrelated to a cold or influenza, should also be noted. If lung cancer is suspected, especially if you are a smoker, your doctor should examine your throat, check your lung functioning and ask for X-rays.

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