In recent years, Cancer has reached epidemic proportions and will dominate much of all healthcare efforts in the 21st century.
Understandably, the C word causes more fear and anxiety than any other ailment today. This is compounded by the fact that cancer symptoms vary with the organ concerned, age, gender, lifestyle, medical history and genetics of the patient. As a result, people tend to wrongly associate various health issues with cancer. It’s time to set the record straight on what does not constitute signs or symptoms of cancer.
A health condition that’s there for long
Aches, pains, cough and recurring mild fever that’s been around for years, with not much change in intensity, is not likely to be cancer. In contrast, cancer progresses gradually, worsening with time and showing a variety of symptoms at every stage.
Symptoms which are recent…
Hypochondriacs, or those who worry excessively about their health, this is for you! A health condition that is fairly new, like a few days old and detected for the first time, is not likely to be cancer. Depending on what is the contributing factor, and how good is your immunity level; the new condition may disappear soon.
Symptoms that are intermittent
If some health condition tends to come and go every now and then, it’s unlikely to be cancer. Cancer tends to show a constant set of symptoms that worsen over time, with a couple of new symptoms added over time.
However there are a few exceptions to this. For example, people suffering from bowel cancer tend to show diarrhoea and blood loss every now and then.
Cancer, be it of the bowel, lung, stomach or oesophagus generally strikes from the mid-30s onwards and this likelihood increases with age. Rarely do people below this age-group show signs of cancer. However there are exceptions, such as blood cancer, testicular cancer and cancer of the lymph nodes.
There is a painful lump
Women have been told often that a lump in the breast could be a sign of breast cancer. This has created a wrong association between lumps and cancer. Please note, not all lumps are cancers and further cancerous lumps do not hurt always. The lump may have been caused by an infection or another factor. Meet a doctor and have a thorough check-up done to identify the condition.
“My wife is taking treatment from June for liver cancer. Best doctors. (Bhaskar Rao, Anees). Best nurses. Super lab facilities. Congratulations. Keep it up, administration.”
– Renganathan P, Tennur -Trichy
Headache without other symptoms
If one does not have a history of migraine, frequent headaches can trigger fear of brain tumour. However, the probability of this is very low and you should consult a specialist to identify the problem.
Constipation without other symptoms
A simple bout of constipation without any fever, diarrhoea or blood-loss is unlikely to be cancer. Analyze your diet, stress and activity levels in the last 48 hours and you may have the answer for your constipation.
You are neither an active nor passive smoker
While active smoking is the most obvious reason for lung cancer, active and passive smoking can create changes in the body that eventually turn into a cancer. There are 14 cancers attributed to smoking. However, if you have never smoked, or quit long back and are not exposed to second-hand smoke, the risk of developing cancer is lower than that for an active or passive smoker.
Women with pain in the breast
While it’s good for women to be cautious, a lump or a pain in the breast is not always a sign of breast cancer. Consult your doctor or a specialist and he/she will identify the cause of the pain.
- All Health reports are normal
If your recent health reports show no cause for worry or concern, the likelihood of cancer is lower. This is because cancer leaves several trace symptoms in the pathological record of a person and these are hard to miss.
Also Read: What you eat can help you fight cancer
While being cautious about your health and having frequent health checkups done are good traits, please learn to differentiate this from unnecessary fear or worry. Cancer does not affect everybody equally, so a doctor is the best judge of what your current health situation is.
At the same time, unnecessary stress, fear or worrying about your health can cause a wide range of psychosomatic disorders, which over a period of time can act as triggers for cancer.