The oncological group of diseases includes dozens of different pathological conditions, which may have an extremely various symptoms. Signs of cancer primarily depend on the affected organ specificity, the severity of the disease, as well as the stage of a malignant process.
"Herzliya Medical Center" offers its patients a variety of programs Cancer Check-Up examination. The advanced equipment and highly qualified medical staff will ensure that your examination passed quickly and as efficiently as possible.
The symptoms of cancer and its causes
The special features of cancerous tumors are their uncontrolled growth, the trend of infiltration into adjacent organs, as well as the spread of metastasises. In the initial stages, a tumor usually has a microscopic size, but over time, it increases and begins to compress the adjacent organs and structures: blood and lymph vessels, nerve fibers. Compression can be a cause of chronic pain - one of the typical signs of cancer.
If the tumor is localized in the vital organs such as the brain, cancer symptoms may occur even by a small size of neoplasia with slight compression. But more often the reverse situation happens. Thus, for example, pancreatic cancer in the early stages are asymptomatic and are usually diagnosed too late - at the stage when the tumor extends beyond the pancreas and forms a mechanical obstruction to the flow of bile, and, consequently, jaundice develops. In a case of distant metastases outside the primary cancer area, symptoms can vary depending on the affected by metastasis organ: lung, bone, nervous system, etc.
Cancer Symptoms are usually divided into specific, associated with a particular organ injury, and non-specific, such as chronic fever, which cannot be explained by an infectious disease or other causes, as well as weight loss and general weakness without visible reasons. Weakness or fatigue are primarily the result of increased energy needs of the tumor. Moreover, they may occur due to metabolic disorders or reduced of the immune system functions against the backdrop of an active malignant process.
Some types of tumors have secretory activity. They discharge hormones or other biologically active substances into the blood. Often such endocrine activity leads to secondary syndromes. For example, in patients with pancreatic cancer, often increased blood clotting and lower extremities thrombosis are developed.
The clinical importance of cancer signs
Cancer symptoms, subject to attentive attitude on them, play an important role in the early diagnosis of the disease. It is a well-known fact, that prognosis for treating cancer in Israel is largely determined by the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. Small tumors, which are limited beyond the primary area and do not spread into the major blood vessels or nerves are classified as resectable. After surgical removal of the tumors the probability of sustained remission is usually very high. As an example, melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Five-year survival in patients with stage I melanoma is 98%, but in the later stages, the figure drops to 16%. Nowadays, most people are familiar with a manifestation of primary melanoma, which requires medical advice and examination: changes the appearance of the skin area, the emergence of new birthmark or ulceration, etc. Therefore, despite the fact that the melanoma incidence is still high, during last decades it has been a steady decline in mortality from this type of cancer.
In recent years, many countries have developed screening programs dor preventive examination of the population. They are intended for people who have not any symptoms of cancer. Such programs include measures for early detection of breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, etc. It must be noted that even after the regular screening you should consult with your doctor in case of any suspicious symptoms, which can be considered as cancer signs.
Common signs of cancer
Reducing body weight. Weight loss of 5 kg and more, which is not associated with a change in diet or physical activity, may indicate the presence of a malignant tumor. In particular, weight reduction is observed in patients with cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, and lungs.
Increased body temperature. Persistent fever is often observed in metastatic cancer, as well as in cases of some cancer types affecting the immune system (leukemia, lymphoma).
Weakness. It is often found in leukemia, but it can be present in other types of cancer. Sometimes, general weakness is a consequence of anemia due to chronic bleeding, for example, in patients with malignant tumors of the large intestine or stomach.
Pain. In some cases (testicular cancer, or cancer of the bone) pain appears in the early stages of the disease. However, in the majority of patients, a pain occurs at a late stage, when the tumor has a large size or multiple metastasis.
Changing the skin appearance. Skin cancer and some other cancers, accompanied by changes of the skin, such as:
- Skin discoloration (jaundice, redness, etc)
- Excessive hairiness
- The appearance of new moles, plaques, etc.
A volumetric neoplasm. Symptoms of cancer almost always involve the presence of a tumor or an infiltration. The neoplasm can be determined by palpation (touch), or in the process of scanning the internal organs: the computer or magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and X-ray.
Bleeding. While the growth, a malignant tumor spreads to the blood vessels and internal organs and causes bleeding from the respiratory tract, vagina, gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, it can be another causes of bleeding, such as reducing the number of platelets and clotting disorders due to leukemia or other hematological disorders.
Chronic disorders of the intestine, such as constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stool - may be signs of colon cancer. Patients with bladder or prostate cancer develop may suffer from a painful or frequent urination, and conversely, urinary retention.
Specific cancer symptoms
The most common types of cancer are:
Lung cancer occurs in both men and women. Cigarette smoking plays the important role in its development.
The symptoms of lung cancer
- A chronic cough (during more than 3 weeks)
- Painful cough
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Shortness of breath, wheezing
- A loss of appetite
- Complicated swallowing
- Severe weakness
Symptoms of colon cancer
Symptoms of prostate cancer
The prostate gland or prostate - organ of the male reproductive system. It is directly adjacent to the urethra and bladder. A prostate cancer is asymptomatic in the early stages, its manifestations are associated with tumor growth and compression of the urethra and bladder. In particular, the patient develops:
Bladder cancer symptoms
Symptoms of bladder cancer are similar to the symptoms of prostate cancer. At the same time, bladder cancer is found not only in men but also in women. One of its characteristic manifestations is hematuria - blood in the urine.
Breast cancer symptoms
Breast cancer occurs mainly in women; men's breast cancer are very rare disease. The symptoms of breast cancer:
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
The initial stages of ovarian cancer, female genital glands, can occur completely asymptomatic. It makes the timely diagnosis more difficult. Clinical signs of ovarian cancer in the later stages:
It should be noted, that all of the above symptoms do not always represent the cancer manifestation and can indicate other diseases.
- Dark or black stools, blood in the stool
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Pain in the abdomen or in the anal area
- Discomfort in the abdomen during long period
- Chronic meteorism, colic, abdominal cramps
- Anemia and related symptoms (fatigue, shortness of breath)
- The development of intestinal obstruction
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder, urinary retention
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine (rarely)
- Changing the size or shape of the breast
- Swelling or infiltrations
- Nipple retraction
- Discharge from the nipple
- Swollen lymph nodes in the axilla
- Loss of appetite
- Bloating, flatulence
- Ascites - accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sexual intercourse