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Cancer and its symptoms

Cancer is a group of many related diseases that begin in cells, the body’s basic unit of life. Normally, cells grow and divide to produce more cells only when the body needs them. Sometimes, however, cells become abnormal and keep dividing to form more cells without control or order, creating a mass of excess tissue called a tumor.

Cancer is a broad term that encompasses over one hundred different types of cancer. Although each type has its own set of characteristics, there are some cancer symptoms that occur in many types of cancer. It is important to note that some types of cancer do not present any symptoms until they are in advanced stages. This is why cancer screening and risk assessment are vital for cancer prevention and early detection.

Cancer gives most people no symptoms or signs that exclusively indicate the disease. Unfortunately, every complaint or symptom of cancer can be explained by a harmless condition as well. Some common symptoms that may occur with cancer are as follows:
– Persistent cough or blood-tinged saliva.
– Persistent Fatigue : It is usually more common when the cancer is advanced, but still occurs in the early stages of some cancers. Anemia is commonly the culprit — a condition that is associated with many types of cancer, especially types affecting the bowel.
– Weight loss : Losing 10 pounds or more unintentionally definitely warrants a visit to the doctor. This type of weight loss can occur with or without loss of appetite.
– Pain : It is not an early symptom of cancer, except in some cancer types like those that spread to the bone. Pain generally occurs when cancer spreads and begins to affect other organs and nerves.
– Bowel Changes : If you experience constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stools, gas, thinner stools, or just a general overall change in bowel habits, see your doctor.
– Chronic Cough : A persistent, new cough or a cough that won’t go away or becomes worse needs to be evaluated by a doctor.

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