Cancer signs that can help in Early Detection

Cancer is one of the biggest causes of death in India. Early Detection can drastically reduce the mortality due to cancer, which is particularly prevalent in India. Cancer cases, as well as mortality, are increasing rapidly among Indian women especially, with India now having the third-highest number of cancer cases among women. Cancer in the lungs and the liver were the most common cases among men, while for women the most common type of cancer was breast and cervical cancer.

Number of cancer patients by region

Lung Cancer is prevalent in the male population of India, with an estimated 40 percent of cases among men having been diagnosed with the lungs as the site. Excessive consumption of tobacco and excessive smoking can be blamed for this. Similarly, Liver Cancer, to which 30 percent of deaths due to cancer were attributed, can be blamed on excessive alcohol consumption. In rural areas, consumption of hootch of suspect quality has resulted in a rise in the number of lung cancer fatalities. Breast Cancer accounts for 27 percent of all cancers in women in India, with incidents rising in the early thirties and peaking at 50-64 ages. Cervical cancer accounts for nearly 20 percent of all cancer-related deaths among women in India.

Early detection can drastically boost the odds of beating cancer. Self-detection is possible if general public awareness about early signs and symptoms is increased. The following are some early signs of cancer types prevalent in India that you should be on the lookout for to enable early detection and subsequent treatment –

Lung Cancer :

  1. Continuous and painful bouts of cough (dry or mucus-producing)
  2. Chronic shortness of breath
  3. Sharp and constant chest pain, along with dull and intermittent pain in the shoulders and back
  4. A wheezing or whistling noise being produced during breathing
  5. Hoarsening of voice
  6. Inexplicable and drastic weight loss

Liver Cancer :

  1. Inexplicable and drastic weight loss
  2. Feeling very full after a small meal
  3. Nausea or vomiting
  4. An enlarged liver felt as a mass under the ribs on the right side
  5. An enlarged spleen felt as a mass under the ribs on the left side
  6. Pain in the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade
  7. Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Breast Cancer :

  1. Change in size or shape
  2. A lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
  3. A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
  4. Redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
  5. The liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing
  6. Pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time
  7. Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone

Cervical Cancer :

  1. Weight loss and fatigue
  2. Back pain, pain in the legs, or swelling
  3. Leakage of urine or feces from the vagina
  4. Bone fractures
  5. Vaginal bleeding or unusual vaginal discharge
  6. Pelvic pain

Being on the lookout for these signs is of vital importance. Treatment becomes more complicated as the stages advance. More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to around 15% for women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of the disease. More than 75% of women diagnosed with the earliest stage cervical cancer survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to around 5% for women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of the disease.

Around 70% and 64% of lung and liver cancer patients respectively will survive for at least a year if diagnosed at the earliest stage compared to around 14% and 17% for people diagnosed with the most advanced stage of the disease.