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Common Symptoms of Cancer

Do you know?
• Cancer is a preventable tragedy,
• The majority of cancers specific to men are preventable,
• The majority of cancers specific to women can be detected early,
• Cancer is not contagious,
• Cancer is curable if detected and treated early.

CAUTION: Look for these early warning signals of cancer
C Change in bowel or bladder habits,
A A sore that does not heal,
U Unusual bleeding or discharge,
T Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere,
I Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing,
O Obvious change in wart or mole,
N Nagging cough or hoarseness.

Cancer is curable if treated in the first stage but only 5% of cancer patients in India are diagnosed at this stage. 75% are diagnosed when they have already reached a stage where they are not only not curable but their cancer has also advanced beyond a stage where any medical treatment can effectively curb the progress of the disease. Failure to discover the disease at an early stage is predominately due to lack of awareness of cancer symptoms. If you notice any major changes in the way your body functions or the way you feel, especially if it lasts for a long time or gets worse, you should let your doctor know. It may have nothing to do with cancer, as many of the symptoms of cancer can also be symptoms of other diseases, but your doctor can investigate the problems and treat them if necessary. If the symptoms are of cancer, you’ll give yourself the best chance to have it treated early, when treatment is most likely to be effective. Below we are listing some of the common symptoms of cancer. If you have any of these symptoms you should consult your doctor.

Changes in bowel and bladder function:
Chronic constipation or diarrhea,
Blood in the stools,
Pain when you urinate,
Changes in the frequency of urination,
Blood in the urine

• Sores that will not heal:
Bleeding of the skin resembling sores that won’t heal,
Persistent sores in the mouth, especially in people who smoke, chew tobacco or drink alcohol,
Continual itching or burning sensation in the skin.

• Unusual bleeding:
Blood in phlegm,
Blood in the stool,
Vaginal bleeding,
Blood in a discharge from the nipple,
Blood in the urine.

• Constant indigestion or trouble swallowing.

• Change in wart or mole:
Any obvious change in the colour, shape or size of a mole or wart.

• Lumps in breast or elsewhere in body:
Lumps felt through the skin in the breast, testicles, or lymph nodes (glands)

• Nagging cough or hoarseness:
Pain in the throat,
Blood in the sputam.

• Chronic Fatigue and severe weight loss.

If you have any of these symptoms please consult your doctor or the nearest oncologist as soon as possible. Cancer is curable if detected early.

 

Symptoms in the Terminal Stage of Cancer
Terminally ill cancer patients often suffer from debilitating symptoms. One of the main goals of Ganga Prem Hospice will be to control these symptoms so patients may enjoy the highest possible quality of life in their last days.

Symptoms include:
1. Pain
Pain occurs in up to 75 % of patients with advanced cancer. Many suffer from constant pain, which must be treated with analgesics at regular intervals. Pain is influenced by physical, emotional, social and spiritual factors. Despite scientific progress, it continues to be chronically under-treated. Drugs such as morphine are important, but complementary techniques of pain management such as homeopathy, relaxation techniques, aromatherapy and hypnotherapy can also be useful.

2. Gastrointestinal Symptoms
A dry, sore mouth, poor appetite, nausea and constipation are common for patients with advanced cancer. Many patients find the symptom of unrelenting nausea more disabling than pain.

3) Respiratory Symptoms
Up to 70 % of cancer patients experience breathlessness in the last six weeks of life. Three of the commonest respiratory symptoms are breathlessness, coughing and haemoptysis (blood in the sputum).

4) Complications of Cancer
Metastatic or advanced cancer may cause complications which profoundly affect a patient's functional ability and quality of life. They require urgent intervention. Prompt diagnosis and referral allows rapid treatment of symptoms and may prevent loss of function and independence.

5) Others
a) Open, foul smelling wounds of cancer that need regular dressing.
b) Symptoms requiring various tubes and bags such as tracheotomy tube, feeding tube, colostomy and urinary bag, which need expert care of health professionals.
c) Children also face pain, and problems related to feeding and breathing.
d) Neurological difficulties are also common

At Ganga Prem Hospice the staff will do their best to provide relief from symptoms for all hospice patients, adults as well as children, and will consult medical specialists to manage intractable symptoms.

 
 
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