Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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Cancer statistics are abysmal. The disease accounted for nearly one in six deaths worldwide in 2020. When cancerous cells proliferate, you have a limited window to try and eradicate them before it’s too late.
The symptoms of cancer change as the disease progresses in the body.
It is very difficult to give exact details but there are some telltale signs that specifically show up when you’re approaching the end.
“The body begins its natural process of slowing down all its functions,” explains Cancer Research UK.
“How long this takes varies from person to person. It might take hours or days.”
According to the charity, when “death is very near” you might notice some physical changes such loss of bowel control and bladder control.
Abnormal bowel changes are often characteristic of bowel cancer – one of the most serious types of cancer diagnosed in the UK.
Other signs of nearing death include:
- Changes in breathing.
It’s important to remember, there is ample opportunity to stop cancer in its tracks.
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The key is to act on any warning signs as soon as they show up.
This is because cancerous cells become more resistant to treatment once they spread to neighbouring regions.
Early signs of cancer include:
- Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness. Speak to a GP if you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more
- Changes in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
- Tummy or back pain.
Prevention better than a cure
Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for cancer nor way to prevent it.
However, you can modify your risk of cancer by making healthy lifestyle decisions.
A person’s risk of cancer depends on many different things. Research shows that things like stopping smoking and keeping a healthy weight can reduce the risk of cancer.
The role diet plays in the development of cancer is complex but some definite causes have been found.
For example, many studies have shown that eating lots of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.
It is estimated that around 13 out of 100 bowel cancer cases (around 13 percent) in the UK are linked to eating these meats.
Processed meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve it and/or add flavour – for example, bacon, salami, sausages, canned meat or chicken nuggets.
The Government recommends that people eating more than 90g of red and processed meat a day should reduce it to 70g or less. 70g is the cooked weight.
“It might help to swap red meat for chicken or fish. Or use beans and pulses in meals instead of meat,” suggest Cancer Research UK.
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