The early symptoms of cancer are often non-specific and most people do not experience any symptoms until they are in the late stages, making early diagnosis difficult.

The earliest stages of cancer, called stage 1, are small tumors that have not yet grown deep into nearby tissues or lymph nodes. Stage 2 refers to tumors that have grown and the cancer has grown deeper into nearby tissue. When cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, it is classified as stage 3. Stage 4, or metastatic cancer, describes cancer that has spread to other organs.1.

Although many cancers share common characteristics, such as solid tumors and leukemia, they each have unique characteristics and pathways. Knowing your cancer risk factors can help you spot early symptoms.

Understand the different types of cancer
melanoma cancer cells
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Breast cancer
Breast cancer is a disease in which breast cells grow out of control. In very rare cases, men develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women, after some types of skin cancer.2 In 2020, there were 276,480 new cases of breast cancer.3

63% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is localized.4 Early diagnosis of breast cancer usually involves routine breast cancer screening, which usually includes mammograms, breast MRI, and clinical breast exams. Women are also encouraged to self-examine their breasts and report any lumps, pain, or changes to their health care providers.

Breast Cancer Screening: Common Tests and Guidelines
The first symptoms of breast cancer are: 5

Swelling of part or all of the breast (even if you don’t feel pain)
Dimpled skin (sometimes looks like an orange peel)
Breast or nipple pain
Retraction of the nipple (inward rotation)
Red, dry, peeling or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
Discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk)
Swollen lymph nodes
What does breast cancer feel like?
Tumors less than half an inch in diameter may be difficult to feel, but tumors larger than that are easily recognized by touch. In the first case, the lump or mass will feel different from the surrounding tissue and will be able to move. If you notice a change or mass in your breast, see your doctor.

Early, metastatic, inflammatory symptoms of breast cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death.6 An estimated 228,820 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, accounting for 12.7% of all new cancer cases.7 More than 50% of people with lung cancer are undiagnosed. The survival rate is low at 20.5% because the cancer has metastasized.6 Early diagnosis of lung cancer accounts for only 17% of all lung cancer cases.6

Many people ignore the usual symptoms of lung cancer because it is the result of smoking or a sign of a lung infection. The first symptoms of lung cancer are: 8

A chronic cough lasting at least eight weeks
Persistent or recurring respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
Coughing up blood or bloody mucus, even in small amounts
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
A hoarse or humming voice
Chest pain
Are your lung cancer symptoms an emergency?
Prostate cancer
An estimated 191,930 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020.9 These cases represent 10.6% of all new cancer cases. Approximately 76% of all cases are diagnosed at an early or localized stage.9 This may be due to the correct and effective detection of prostate cancer.10 Early symptoms of prostate cancer include:11

Pain and burning during urination and ejaculation
Frequent urination, especially at night
Difficulty stopping or starting to urinate
Sudden impotence
Blood in semen or urine
Recommendations for prostate cancer screening
Prostate cancer diagnosed early has a 100% five-year survival rate, so proper screening is important.9 According to the American Cancer Society, men over 50 are at average risk and men over 40 are at high risk for prostate cancer. It is recommended to be. undergo regular prostate cancer screening. Prostate cancer risk factors are: 12

Age, most cases appear in men over 40 years of age
African-American men are at greater risk
Geographical location, because North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and Caribbean islands are at high risk.
Family history of prostate cancer
What tests are used to diagnose prostate cancer?

advance to the lymph nodes.13

Colon cancer death rates have decreased in recent years, which means that colon polyps detected during screening are less likely to become cancerous if they are removed promptly. Early symptoms of colon cancer include: 14

Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or strictures, persist for more than a few days.
Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement and then you can’t get relief from the feeling
Bright red rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
Abdominal pain or swelling
Weakness and fatigue
Unplanned weight loss
What are the screening options for colon cancer?
Although melanoma accounts for approximately 1% of all skin cancers, it accounts for the majority of skin cancer deaths.15 In 2020, 100,350 new cases of melanoma were reported, representing 5.6% of all new cancers. Most cases of melanoma, approximately 83%, are diagnosed at an early stage.16

The five-year relative survival rate for melanoma cases detected early is high, at 99%.15 Early signs to look out for include:17

New spots on the skin or spots that change in size, shape, or color according to the ABCDE rule
An incurable wound
Diffusion of pigment from the border of the spot to the surrounding skin
Redness or new growth beyond the border of the mole
Changes in sensation such as itching, tenderness, or pain
Changes in the surface of the mole, such as crusting, oozing, bleeding, lumps or bumps

ABCDE rules
The ABCDE rule is a great tool for tracking moles and spots on the body that may be melanoma. Consider the following when examining your body:

Asymmetry: When a mole or birthmark is uneven or one side does not match the other
Borders: Irregular, jagged, and blurred borders can sometimes be a sign of melanoma.
Color: Discoloration or more than one color spot with different shades of brown or black, or pink, blue, red, or white spots.
Diameter: If the stain is larger in diameter than the pencil eraser, it should be investigated further
Evolving: If the spot or mole changes in shape, color, or size
A Guide to Treating Stage 0, 1, and 2 Melanoma
Bladder cancer
Early detection of bladder cancer is easier than other types of cancer because the early symptoms are obvious. In 2020, 81,400 new cases of bladder cancer were reported, accounting for 4.5% of all new cancer cases.18

Early signs and symptoms of bladder cancer include: 19

Blood in the urine
Urinating more than usual
Pain and burning sensation when urinating
The need to urinate increases even when the bladder is not full
Difficulty urinating or weak urine flow
Many times you have to get up to urinate at night
Bladder Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma originates in the lymphatic system. In 2020, 77,240 new cases of the disease were reported.20 Approximately 25% of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases are diagnosed at an early stage, with a five-year relative survival rate of 83.5%. 20

Early symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include: 19

Enlargement of one or more lymph nodes and lumps under the skin
It’s cold
Night sweats
Lose weight
A feeling of tiredness and fatigue
Abdominal tumor
Many of these signs and symptoms are nonspecific, so knowing your risk factors can tell you how often you need to be screened for this type of cancer.

What causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
Kidney cancer
Kidney cancer is difficult to diagnose in the early stages because it is difficult to feel small tumors during physical examination. It is usually caught on X-ray or ultrasound for other reasons. An estimated 73,750 new cases of kidney cancer will be reported in 2020, with a 5-year relative survival rate of 75.2%.21 For cases diagnosed early, the 5-year relative survival rate increases to 92.6%.21

The first symptoms of kidney cancer are: 22

Constant back pain and pressure on one side
A lump or mass on the side or back
Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite
Non-contagious and unrelenting fever
A low number of red blood cells, called anemia
Swelling of feet and ankles
In men with kidney cancer, varicocele, or a cluster of enlarged veins, can be seen around the testicles, most often in the right testicle.
What tests are used to detect kidney cancer?
Endometrial/uterine cancer
Endometrial or uterine cancer affects the uterus. In 2020, there were 65,620 newly diagnosed cases, accounting for 3.6% of all cancers.23 The majority of endometrial and endometrial cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, accounting for 67% of all cases.23 Early signs of endometrial cancer include:

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