Cancer comes in many forms and can manifest in many places throughout the body. When it comes to cancer detection, a variety of signs and symptoms could signify a presence. While a cancer sign is a signal that’s evident to others — such as weight loss or skin changes — a cancer symptom is something patients feel themselves — such as weakness, pain or appetite changes.
Because cancer is a group of various conditions that can occur in different areas and different stages, signs and symptoms will appear in different parts of the body, affect each person differently and coincide with either multiple other symptoms or very few.
While the presence of these signs can sometimes point to cancer, having a symptom does not necessarily mean you have cancer — most of the time, in fact, they can be caused by other problems. If you’re experiencing any possible signs and symptoms of cancer and think you may need an early cancer diagnosis. Here’s what you need to know about how cancer affects the body.
How Does Cancer Cause Signals?
Cancer can cause almost any sign or symptom in any part of the body — the symptoms depend on the type of cancer, where it’s located, what stage it’s in, how big it is and what effect it has on tissues and organs. If the cancer has progressed and spread, symptoms can be felt in various places in the body at once.
When cancer grows, it begins to put pressure on the blood vessels, nerves and organs it touches, causing certain signs and symptoms based on the affected area. Sometimes, the disease causes immediate and noticeable symptoms even in its early stages when it’s small — especially in critical areas like the brain. In other circumstances, however, cancer begins in places where it won’t show symptoms until it has progressed significantly — like the pancreas.
By putting a strain on the immune system and the body’s energy supply, cancer can also have more generalized symptoms affecting nerves, muscles, and metabolism. Some symptoms may not look like they’re linked to cancer, while other symptoms that look like cancer signs may not be from cancer at all.
General Cancer Symptoms and Signs
While cancer causes many types of signs and symptoms dependant on a variety of factors, most cancers show the following signals:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain and aching
- Changes in skin appearance
Other symptoms specific to cancer type are various and differ based on the stage, location, and type.
Seek an Early Cancer Diagnosis With Gettysburg Cancer Center
If you’re concerned about displaying any signs and symptoms you think might be related to cancer, Gettysburg Cancer Center is here to help you every step of the way. With our expert service and compassionate care, we provide a family-friendly environment and a full range of solutions — from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up care with many options. Reach out today to make an appointment.