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Why Some Symptoms Can Be Signs Of Any Type Of Cancer

The word ‘cancer’ can be terrifying for anyone to hear, especially if it is you or someone close to you who is suspected of having it. But it makes sense not to bury your head in the sand; if you have any symptoms that might be cancerous, getting them checked out fast is the best way of getting an early diagnosis that could save your life. Once signs have been identified, an oncologist can confirm if you have cancer or not, as well as what treatment is best and exactly what type of cancer it is. The last of these issues is an area not always well understood. Some lay people will have little understanding of the fact that there are many different cancers and the causes can vary. Others will be aware that particular cancers are always or mostly sex-dependent (such as cervical, ovarian, testicular, prostate, and most cases of breast cancer), while some may be aware of their particular vulnerability to certain kinds, such as a family history or risk factors such as smoking for lung cancer or the fact white people are at more risk of skin cancer.

Common Signs To Be Aware Of

However, for all the variants between different kinds of cancer, it is in fact true that some symptoms can hint at cancer without it being any one specific type. This point was made in a Daily Mirror article after Dave Myers, one half of the celebrity chef duo the Hairy Bikers, died at the age of 66. Mr Myers had gone public that he had cancer, but had not revealed what kind he was suffering from in order to maintain his family’s privacy. Normally, when someone famous dies of a particular kind of cancer, this can lead to a lot of attention being placed on the subject. For example, the death of the late cricketer Bob Willis from prostate cancer led to the launch of the ‘Blue for Bob’ campaign, which did not just mean people wearing blue at big matches staged at his home ground of Edgbaston in Birmingham, but accompanying information campaigns, public announcements and fundraising efforts via the Bob Willis Fund. When the exact type of cancer affecting someone is kept private, this cannot be achieved. But that does not mean a famous person’s diagnosis or death cannot raise some awareness. As the Mirror notes, there are several symptoms listed by Cancer Research UK that can hint at multiple possible cancers, all of which warrant getting checked out.

Leading Symptoms To Look Out For

Some can be specific to certain cancers, like persistent mouth ulcers pointing to mouth cancer or a cough that doesn’t go away potentially pointing to lung cancer. A sore throat could be a sign of laryngeal cancer. Other problems might hint at a range of risks; frequent indigestion and heartburn might suggest you have issues with your diet, but it could be a pointer to stomach cancer or oesophageal cancer. Night sweats could be (in women) a sign of menopause, but it could also point to leukaemia or liver cancer. Persistent bloating could be down to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, but it might also hint at bowel cancer or some form of gynaecological cancer. Apart from these, fatigue can be a potential sign linked with multiple kinds of cancer, although it may equally be down to another illness or lifestyle issues like a lack of sleep due to habitually going to bed late and getting up early. If you care about your health, any of these problems should generate a response. Even if the symptoms turn out to be nothing to do with cancer you will be better off taking action to resolve them.

Why Early Diagnosis Matters

Most importantly of all, you should always seek to get yourself checked out early, as a quick diagnosis before any cancer gets the opportunity to spread could save your life. It gives the oncologist the best possible chance to provide a treatment that will either see it off completely or at least slow its progression to the point where you will enjoy more years of high-quality living. How far developed the cancer was in the case of Dave Myers is another thing we do not know, of course. What is now public knowledge is the fact that another famous person’s cancer diagnosis (which has also not been specified) has been caught early - that of King Charles. The King was fortunate in that the “separate issue of concern” was detected in the course of treatment for a non-cancerous prostate problem and it has been confirmed that he does not have prostate cancer. This early diagnosis gives the best hope that he will be able to make a full recovery and that the reign he waited so long to begin will not be a tragically short one. Having access to excellent private health care will no doubt have helped the 75-year-old monarch, whose parents both lived well into their 90s. But this is not just for royalty and sometimes personal investment in private oncology can be a literal lifesaver.

A Right Royal Reminder

At the same time, a reminder that even royalty are not immune could be a timely one. The whole reason Charles III has waited so long to be King is because his grandfather died in middle age from lung cancer in 1952, having been a heavy smoker. The sheer fact that it has been confirmed by Buckingham Palace that the King is receiving cancer treatment should be enough to prompt people to remain vigilant about their health. Not everyone will have the fortune to have a problem discovered during treatment for something else. In the meantime, we can expect that the royals will do a lot more in the midst of this situation to highlight the work of cancer charities they support, which will also increase awareness. It is unlikely the public will ever be told just what sort of cancer killed Dave Myers, or which type King Charles has. But even if you have a family history of a particular kind of cancer, it is vital to remain aware of the risks - and possible telltale symptoms - of any form of the disease.

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