Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Cancer, initially as a tiny mass of cells, produces no symptoms whatsoever. When cancer grows in an area with a lot of space, such as in the wall of the large intestine, it may not cause any symptoms until it becomes quite large. In contrast, a cancer growing in a more restricted space, such as on a vocal cord, may cause symptoms (such as hoarseness) when it is relatively small.

Cancers produce symptoms by growing into and thus irritating or destroying other tissues, putting pressure on other tissues, producing toxic substances, and using energy and nutrients normally available for other bodily functions. Cancer may cause one set of symptoms as it grows in its initial site and cause different symptoms as it spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body.

As a cancer grows and spreads throughout the body, a number of complications can result. Some of these complications can be serious and require emergency treatment. Certain complications, called paraneoplastic syndromes, result when substances produced by cancers spread throughout the body.

Danger Signs of Cancer

  1. Unusual bleeding or discharge.
  2. A lump or thickening in the breast or otherwise
  3. A sore that does not heal
  4. Change in bowel or bladder habits.
  5. Persistant hoarseness or cough.
  6. Persistant indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  7. Change in a wort or mole


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