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Most Common Cancer Symptoms in Men and Women

Cancer may present with any one or more of the following symptoms. Sometimes there may be no symptoms, and sometimes other disease conditions may cause similar symptoms. Therefore, further investigations may be required to confirm the diagnosis. In this article, we will share 16 most common cancer symptoms in men and women that everyone should keep a check on. Remember early detection is a key to win your battle against the cancer and therefore you and everyone else should be aware with the early signs and symptoms. 

Here is a list of 16 most common cancer symptoms in men and women 

Changes in Urine

symptoms-of-prostate-cancer

Urinary hesitancy, nocturia, diminished urine stream and incomplete emptying of the bladder may be due to prostate cancer

Other conditions like benign hypertrophy of prostate, chronic prostatitis, etc should be ruled out. 

Investigations that will help in confirming the diagnosis are prostatic biopsy, serum PSA, pelvic MRI, PSMA PET CT scan, etc.

Chronic cough

prolonged-cough-may-be-lung-cancer

Cough that is present for a long time and accompanied with chest pain or discomfort and/or blood tinged sputum or breathlessness may be a sign of lung cancer.

Other conditions like tuberculosis, fungal infections, abscesses, sarcoidosis, etc should be ruled out. 

Investigations that will help in confirming the diagnosis are lung biopsy with immunohistochemistry, CT scan, etc

Lump in breast

abnormal-breast-lump-may-be-breast-cancer

Lump or thickening in breast and/or change in shape or size of breast, dimpling or puckering of skin, nipple retraction or discharge may be a sign of breast cancer.

Other benign lesions, breast abscess, phylloides tumor, etc should be ruled out.

Investigations that may help in disease confirmation are breast biopsy, mammography, etc

Non Healing Oral Ulcers

non-healing-oral-ulcer-may-be-oral-cancer

Growth or non-healing ulcers in mouth and/or difficulty in degluttition, nasal stuffiness, throat pain, change in voice etc may be signs of head and neck cancer.

Benign lesions, apthous ulcers, neuromuscular disorders, etc should be ruled out in such cases.

Investigations such as biopsy, laryngoscopy, nasopharyngoscopy, CT scan, etc help in confirming the diagnosis.

Changes in Bowel Habits

abdominal-discomfort-constipation-or-diarrhea-may-be-colorectal-cancer

Any change in bowel habits present for a long time or worsening gradually like constipation, diarrhoea, blood in stools, abdominal discomfort or pain may indicate colorectal cancer.

Other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, ischemic bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, etc should be ruled out. 

Investigations to confirm the diagnosis are colonoscopy with biopsy, serum CEA, CT scan, etc

Changes in Urination

bloody-and-painful-urination-may-be-bladder-cancer

Any recent or prolonged painful or frequent urination and/or presence of blood in urine may be a sign of bladder cancer.

Other conditions like cystitis, kidney stones, urinary infections, etc should be ruled out. 

Investigations to confirm the diagnosis are cystoscopy, urine tumor markers, MRI pelvis, etc.

Changes in Skin

changes-in-skin-may-be-skin-cancer

Itching, tenderness or pigmentation on the skin, or redness, swelling or bleeding from an existing mole may be a sign of melanoma.

Other skin lesions should be ruled out like Nevus Verrucae seborrhoicae with secondary inflammation reaction, Pyogenic granulomas, Pigmented basal cell carcinoma, Hemorrages in regular verruca, etc

Skin biopsy may help in confirming the diagnosis.

Abdominal and Urinary Complaints

abdominal-pain-blood-in-urine-may-be-kidney-cancer

Abdominal mass and/or pain and/or blood in urine may be a sign of kidney cancer.

Other conditions like cystitis, kidney stones, urinary infections, etc should be ruled out.

Investigations to confirm the diagnosis are biopsy from mass, MRI, PET CT scan, etc.

Swellings in the Neck, Armpits and/or Groin

neck-axillary-or-groin-swellings-may-be-lymphoma

Progressively growing swellings in these areas and/or night sweats, weight loss or fever may indicate lymphoma.

Other conditions like infections, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, etc should be ruled out. 

Further investigations that may help in confirming the disease are lymph node biopsy, PET CT scan, etc

Unexplained Bleeding from one or more sites

abnormal-bleeding-may-be-leukemia

Unexplained bleeding and/or fever, infections, fatigue may be indicative of leukemia.

Other conditions like bleeding diathesis, other causes of anemia, immune disorders, etc should be ruled out.

Investigations that may help in confirming the diagnosis are complete blood count, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, flow cytometry, etc

Pain in Upper Abdomen, Jaundice, Vomiting

pain-in-upperabdomen-and-jaundice-may-be-pancreatic-cancer

These symptoms and/or decreased appetite, vomiting or abdominal distension may be due to pancreatic cancer.

Other conditions that should be ruled out are cholecystitis, biliary obstruction, stomach or gall bladder cancer, etc.

Investigations that may help in disease confirmation are biopsy, CT scan, etc 

Lump or Swelling in Neck

central-neck-mass-may-be-thyroid-cancer

Neck swelling and/or pain, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness of voice or cough may be due to thyroid cancer.

Other conditions that should be ruled out are goitre, brachial or thyroglossal cyst, lymphoma, etc.

Investigations that may help in disease confirmation are biopsy, CT scan, etc 

Painless Testicular Lump or Swelling

testicular-lump-may-be-testicular-cancer

Testicular lump that is not painful, change in testicular sensation, dull pain in abdomen or groin, etc may be symptoms of testicular cancer.

Other conditions like hematoma, infection, epidermoid cyst, etc should be ruled out in such cases

Investigations such as tumor markers (AFP, beta HCG, LDH), testicular ultrasound, CT abdomen, etc help in confirmation of diagnosis.

Difficulty in Swallowing 

difficulty-in-swallowing-may-be-esophageal-cancer

Painful or difficult swallowing and/or weight loss, pain in chest, cough, vomiting, etc. might be the symptoms of esophageal cancer

Benign lesions like strictures, webs, rings, achalasia, ulcers, etc may cause similar symptoms and should be ruled out.

Investigations that help in confirmation of diagnosis are upper GI endoscopy, biopsy, CT scan, etc

Prolonged Lower Abdominal Discomfort

prolonged-lower-abdominal-discomfort-may-be-oavrian-cancer

Females with prolonged complaints of lower abdominal discomfort and/or bloating, distention, early satiety, urinary symptoms, etc may have ovarian cancer.

Other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, tuberculosis and other abdominal malignancies may cause similar symptoms.

Investigations like CT scan of abdomen, biopsy, etc help in confirming the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

abnormal-uterine-bleeding-may-be-endometrial-cancer

Bleeding after menopause, between menstrual periods, or spotting between menstrual cycle and/or unusual vaginal discharge, pain in lower abdomen, etc may be indicative of uterine cancer

Other conditions like endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial polyp, cervical cancer, etc may cause similar symptoms and should be ruled out.

Investigations to confirm the diagnosis are TVUS, endometrial biopsy, CT scan, etc.

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