I know it’s not a pleasant subject but since we know that early detection of cancer can make such a difference to survival rates, I thought this was worth posting about.
WDDTY have just released a post called : ‘The Eight Tell-Tale Signs of Cancer’ which lists the signs that Keele university researchers calculate suggest a higher than 1 in 20 risk of cancer, depending on age.
Basically, if you are younger than 55, a breast lump or abnormal prostate test result are the main signs to look for. Over 55, the top signs are: ‘blood in your urine, anaemia, rectal blood, coughing up blood, breast lump or mass, difficulty in swallowing, post-menopause bleeding and abnormal prostate test.’
That said, though, there are lots of other reasons for these signs too, of course. For example, anaemia can be because of heavy loss of menstrual blood, coeliac disease or simple deficiency. I followed other links on the WDDTY site too two other posts which I thought added a bit more information.
For example, this post ‘Cancer: What are the early tell-tale warning signs?‘ in 2007 shows that some of those signs listed can be misleading. For example, 85% of breast lumps are found, thankfully, to be benign and this figure is even higher for under 55s. It is very rare for blood in urine to actually turn out to be cancer; the figure for men above 70 does go up, but not very high. Just 0.2% of people with difficult swallowing under 45 is likely to have cancer (and this if often more likely to be acid reflux or allergy in my experience). And rectal bleeding is the least likely to turn out to be anything untoward of all the signs.
I thought a great set of statistics mentioned then (not sure how this has changed in 2010, but shouldn’t think it is far away) is this: ‘ the average doctor with 1500 patients on his list will see just one case of lung cancer and one of colorectal cancer each year, one case of renal or bladder cancer every two years, and one case of esophageal cancer every five years.’ Which rather puts our worries into perspective somewhat.
Finally, I thought this post in 2009 was also useful: ‘The tell-tale signs of breast cancer in women on HRT’.
Basically, it seems there is a link between those women who get breast tenderness after starting HRT and later developing breast cancer. A useful indicator to stop if this happens. I assume this is because of oestrogen dominance and breast cancer is an oestrogen-related cancer.
Anyway, I thought those were worth looking at. The moral of the story is that if you have any of those signs, you should see your GP. It is statistically very unlikely to be cancer, but you should check them out.