Protect yourself and your family from cancer. Know what to look out for.

By on February 2, 2016

Even with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, experts say finding cancer cells in the body is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Cancer cells are too small sitting on billions of other cells and sometimes hidden behind the organs.

February 4 is World Cancer Day and the 15th is International Childhood Cancer Day. The World Health Organization wants people to be more aware of the outward signs of this life- threatening disease.  Here’s what to look out for.


☑Do you have any difficulty urinating?
If you are having problems passing urine or pee quite too often, the common triggers are urinary tract infections, kidney stones or obstructions caused by a growing or enlarged cancer cell. Have a biopsy.

☑Do you suffer from pain in the mid back section?
If it’s not musculoskeletal disorder which is very common, the pain could be due to pancreatic cancer. But according to experts, musculoskeletal back pain occurs in the lower back section and pancreatic cancer above that.

☑Is your voice consistently hoarse?
Inflamed vocal cords most often due to yelling too much or stressing through frequent singing leads to hoarseness. It is also common with a cold. But if colds or coughing persist for two or three weeks, it needs checking out.

☑Do you sweat heavily at night?
Heavy sweating in the neck, groin, armpit could be a cause of overactive cells caused by lymphoma. Have it checked.

☑Does your heartburn last two to three weeks?
It is normal to experience some discomfort like stomach bloat, belching and gas, burning sensation after eating a spicy or fatty meal. What’s not normal is if it happens almost regularly lasting more than two to three weeks.  Have a check-up to rule out the possibility of an ovarian or pancreatic cancer.

☑Do you have difficulty swallowing food or drink?

Brain injuries, strokes and other medical conditions can cause difficulty in swallowing and may be early signs of neck, esophagus, mouth or tongue cancer (occurring mostly in heavy smokers or drinkers).

☑Any changes in bowel conditions?
Sudden changes in your bowel conditions such as color, diarrhea, constipation, blood in your stool, looser than usual bowels accompanied by headaches or an unusual feeling as if all your internal organs are pulling downwards may indicate more serious causes like bowel or ovarian cancers.

☑Do you have growing lumps or wounds that don’t heal?
If you see small painless lumps that grow bigger, crustier over time (usually in the face, ears, hands, shoulders, scalp, including the back), seek medical help immediately. Itchy moles or wounds that don’t heal for weeks and months equally indicate skin cancer. But these days, skin cancers are easily detected far earlier than the others.

☑Do you check your mouth and tongue?
Mouth and tongue are arguably the least noticed parts of the body. Check that your tongue has no white and thickening lumps that could trigger changes in the mouth’s lining which may lead to cancer.

The Foundation for Promotion of Cancer Research in Japan offers the following tips:

1. Don’t smoke.
2. Avoid passive smoking.
3. Drink in moderation if you choose to drink alcohol.
4. Eat a balanced diet.
5. Eat less highly salted foods, use less salt.
6. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
7. Be physically active in your daily life.
8. Maintain an appropriate weight during adulthood
(Do not gain or lose too much weight).
9. Learn to avoid viral and bacterial infections that can cause
cancer. Get tested to determine your infection status and, if
infected, receive necessary treatment.
10. Schedule regular cancer screening.
11. Be sure to consult your doctor without delay if you have
any possible sign or symptom of cancer.
12. Get information about cancer from reliable sources.


About Vivienne Lee