Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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Cancerous cells can sprout in any part of the body, which means the symptoms of cancer are extensive. The symptoms may differ but the advice is the same: act on any abnormal changes as soon as they emerge. With that in mind, Express.co.uk is drawing attention to a telltale sign of cancer that may spring up in the morning.
According to the University of California San Francisco Health (UCSF), a “sudden, lasting change in your energy level, no matter how much sleep you’ve been getting” can indicate leukaemia – cancer of the white blood cells.
Fatigue is very common in people with cancer. It can be the most troubling symptom.
“Cancer related fatigue can affect you physically, emotionally and mentally,” explains Cancer Research UK.
“How long it lasts, the degree of severity and how often you might have it is different from person to person.”
According to the NHS, other signs of leukaemia include:
- Looking pale or “washed out”
- Frequent infections
- Unusual and frequent bruising or bleeding, such as bleeding gums or Nosebleeds
- Losing weight without trying to.
How to respond
Speak to a GP if you or your child have possible symptoms of leukaemia.
“Although it’s highly unlikely that leukaemia is the cause, these symptoms should be investigated,” says the NHS.
The health body continues: “If your GP thinks you may have leukaemia, they’ll arrange blood tests to check your blood cell production.”
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If the tests suggest there’s a problem, you’ll be urgently referred to a specialist in treating blood conditions (haematologist) for further tests and treatment, it adds.
Are you at risk?
It’s not clear exactly what causes leukaemia and, in most cases, there’s no identifiable cause.
However, some risk factors may increase your risk of developing leukaemia and they differ depending on the variation you have.
There are different types of leukaemia. Acute leukaemia (AML) means it progresses quickly and aggressively, and usually requires immediate treatment.
According to Cancer Research UK, AML is more common in older people.
“The risk of AML increases from around 50 years and is greatest in those aged between 85 and 89 years,” warns the charity.
Smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of developing AML, it warns.
“There is benzene in cigarette smoke and this is likely to be a significant cause.”
According to the NHS, being exposed to a significant level of radiation can increase your chances of developing AML, although this usually requires exposure at very high levels.
In the UK, most people are unlikely to be exposed to levels of radiation high enough to cause AML, notes the health body.
“But some people who have had radiotherapy as part of a previous cancer treatment may have a bigger chance of getting AML.”
Other risk factors include:
- Blood disorders
- Genetic disorders.
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