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Is cancer returning?-Cancer Survivorship

Possible signs and symptoms of cancer

American Cancer SocietyOften Doctors don’t tell us, but reading the press and talking to fellow patients, we begin to realise that, rather than giving us immunity, having had cancer we have a chance of getting another dose.

For six months I asked GPs, and others, if I could have tests for worrying symptoms that might indicate cancer was returning. I was brushed aside, told all sorts of nonsense, and it wasn’t until I was seen by Visiting Professors – one Swiss and two Spanish, that I was taken seriously, and  tests authorised.

In a way the NHS was right – I didn’t have cancer.  But I do have other conditions which were treatable. I am almost pain-free, thanks to treatment authorised by one of the Spanish doctors.

American Cancer Society.

American websites have become my ‘go-to’ information source when I want accurate information about cancer and its side effects.  I’ve had issues with mis-information put up on NHS Choices and found it can leave out vital pieces, or even post innacurate advice – World Health Organisation (United Nation’s health arm) [WHO] came down on them with one recent piece of mid-information. NHS Choices wouldn’t change and wouldn’t even check if I was right, so I reported them to WHO.

Whom do you check with?

Theoretically we are told to see our Cancer Nurse Specialist (if we are lucky enough to have one) or with our GP.  But as urvivors are finding, this can be a long process

So look out for these signs

American Cancer Society says If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, get them checked out – especially if they last for a long time or get worse.

It’s more likely that something that isn’t cancer is causing the problem, but seeing a doctor is the only way to find out.  If you go to your GP with a definite symptom, don’t be fobbed off – insist on proper tests. 

  • Unexplained weight loss: Losing 10 pounds or more without knowing the reason
  • Fatigue: Extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest
  • Pain: Especially back pain, or a headache that doesn’t go away or get better with treatment
  • Skin Changes Any wart, mole, or freckle that changes colour, size, or shape, or that loses its sharp border should be seen by a doctor right away. Other skin changes should be reported, too, including: darkening, yellowing, reddishness, itching, and excessive hair growth.
  • Sores that do not heal: These can be on the skin, in the mouth, or on the genitals.
  • Change in bowel habits or bladder function: Long-term constipation, diarrhea, a change in the size of the stool, pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, or a change in bladder function (such as needing to go more or less often than usual)
  • White patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue: Smoking or other tobacco use can cause pre-cancerous areas. If not treated, these patches or spots can become cancer.
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge: This can include coughing up blood, blood in the stool (which can look like very dark or black stool), abnormal vaginal bleeding, blood in the urine, or a bloody discharge from the nipple.
  • Lump: This can be anywhere, but mostly occurs in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes (glands), and the soft tissues of the body. Some breast cancers show up as red or thickened skin rather than a lump.
  • Indigestion or trouble swallowing that doesn’t go away
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness that doesn’t go away

These signs and symptoms are more common, but they aren’t the only indications of cancer. If you notice any major changes in the way your body works or the way you feel – especially if it lasts for a long time or gets worse – let a doctor know.

Get symptoms checked out – then you can rest easy.

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