Examine Yourself: How to spot cancer early and what to do?

You are more likely to survive cancer if you spot it at an early stage. So take time today to check your body for changes that could be cancer and talk to your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

Examine Yourself: How to spot cancer early and what to do?

The main changes to look for include changes that are:

UNEXPLAINED CHANGES

A lump or swelling

Make sure to check your whole body, not just your testicles or breasts.

Bleeding that is not normal for you

Coughing up blood or noticing it in your urine or bowel motion is not normal. Neither is bleeding from your vagina between periods, after sex or after the menopause.

Weight loss

It is normal to see small weight changes over time. But a big weight loss, not related to dieting, may be a sign of something more serious.

Pain that does not go away

If you feel pain for more than four weeks that you cannot explain, talk to your doctor about it.

Examine Yourself: How to spot cancer early and what to do?

PERSISTENT CHANGES

A cough, changes in your voice or feeling short of breath.

Speak to your doctor if you have any of these problems for more than three weeks, especially if you are a smoker or ex-smoker.

A sore that does not heal.

If a spot, wart or sore does not heal in a few weeks, get it checked by your doctor, even if it is painless.

Difficulty swallowing, indigestion or heartburn.

It is not normal to have indigestion or heartburn that happens a lot or is very painful. Difficulty swallowing is not normal either. Get it checked by your doctor.

Bloating.

If bloating does not go away within a few weeks, talk to your doctor about it.

Mouth or tongue ulcer.

Having a mouth or tongue ulcer for three weeks or more is not normal and needs to be checked by your doctor or dentist.

Examine Yourself: How to spot cancer early and what to do?

UNUSUAL CHANGES

A change in your bowel or bladder habits.

If you have constipation, diarrhoea or problems passing urine for more than a few weeks, talk to your doctor.

A new mole or change to an existing mole.

Get into the habit of checking your skin every month for new moles. Also watch for changes in colour, shape and size of existing moles.

Any change in your breast.

Get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts for changes in the shape, size, nipples and skin. Also watch for pain in one breast.

If you notice any other unusual change in how your body works, talk to your doctor.

The chances are it will not be cancer. But getting it checked is not wasting anyone’s time. It could save your life.

IN SUMMARY

Check yourself regularly so that you’re more likely to notice any changes and get screened when you can.

Screening means testing for cancer when you have no symptoms and is a great way to spot cancer early and give yourself the best chance of getting cured.

Free screening for bowel cancer (BowelScreen) is available for men (and women) aged 60–69.

If you are worried and wondering what can you do then the advice is ... don’t ignore problems or warning signs.

If you have any changes in your body that are unusual for you or you’re worried, don’t ignore it.

Call your doctor and make an appointment, even if you feel OK.

Most cancers can be successfully treated if they’re caught early enough.

Putting off going to the doctor could make cancer more difficult or even impossible to treat.

Most importantly, don’t panic.

Remember, your doctor has seen it all before, and probably much worse!

There’s no need to be embarrassed.

Doctors won’t do any tests or examinations without asking you first, and explaining what they are doing and why. Blood tests or the prostate exam might be a bit uncomfortable, but you can handle it – it’s better than letting cancer go undetected.

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