While you may think visiting the doctor yearly and getting your routine check-up should be enough to prevent cancers of all types, the truth is that many cancers can be tough to catch early no matter the preventative measures taken. Eating nutritious foods, knowing your family history, and getting plenty of physical activity is a great start for preventing cancer. But knowing exactly what signs and symptoms to look out for, even if you think your health and lifestyle is top-notch, can be life-saving.
The following 10 cancers can show no signs or symptoms.
1. Pancreatic cancer
The pancreas itself is a small organ that rests within the abdomen, and in general, its uses vary from helping with the digestion of food to secreting hormones that help with maintaining proper blood sugar levels. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to diagnose because many people don’t experience symptoms during the early stages. According to Cancer.Net, there are also no reliable tests for people who may have this cancer.
Some symptoms of pancreatic cancer include pain in the upper abdomen or upper back, the swelling of extremities due to a blood clot, bloated stomach, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, chills, fever, and weight loss. When the cancer begins to spread, jaundice is a common sign, and it can be seen in both the yellowing of the skin and eyes.
2. Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer and other diseases related to the prostate are becoming more prevalent in American men. Patient Advocates for Advanced Cancer Treatments explains prostate cancer can be incredibly difficult to detect because of its general lack of symptoms, and by the time signs are noticeable, the cancer has most likely spread to the bone.
The prostate itself is a gland located at the base of the bladder and around the urethra, and it produces the fluid for sperm. Because the symptoms for prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement are so similar and become a more common occurrence with age, many men commonly ignore these slight indicators. Some signs to look out for include urinary tract infections and a weak urine stream, blood in the urine, erectile dysfunction, and back pain.
3. Bladder cancer
While bladder cancer also does not come with a long list of noticeable symptoms, it’s also not a very well-known or heavily discussed disease. According to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, about 70,000 cases of this disease are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. This cancer is also more likely to occur in older adults, and the exposure to tobacco, industrial solvents, paints, and paint thinners raises this risk.
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, but that’s about it. You may also notice a more frequent need to urinate or painful urination as well. Signs like pain in the midsection or the bones in the bladder area indicate it’s already spread.
4. Colon cancer
Colorectal cancer arises from a tumor forming in the inner wall of the large intestine says MedicineNet.com, and most cases form from polyps, which are growths on the inner lining of the colon. Because there are often no symptoms associated with the very early signs of colon cancer, removing any known polyps can greatly reduce your risk of cancer development.
As for symptoms of colon cancer, the most common is having blood in the stool that is dark, black, or tarry, according to Men’s Health. Having blood in your stool does not automatically mean cancer, however; it can also mean you have a bleeding ulcer or ulcerative colitis. Abdominal pain, weight loss, and a loss of appetite can also signify colon cancer.