Look out for changes
Listening to our bodies closely and recognising when things change is something most of us naturally do to some degree or another. However these changes shouldn’t simply be dismissed when they’re noticed because occasionally they can be an early warning sign of something more serious. Spotting the early signs of cancer is important
There is every chance that might not be the case of course and more often than not, a visit to your GP can set your mind at ease. Sometimes though, small changes can be an early indication of diseases such as cancer. If they are identified at the earliest stage then they can be treated earlier and much more effectively.
For many who notice unexplained, unusual or persistent changes, it can naturally be a worrying time. The temptation to avoid seeking help is a real one, as is the hope that such changes will simply go away with time. However it is important to be honest with yourself and with your doctor and do the right thing…Play it safe and get checked out.
What changes should you look out for?
As a general rule, any change in you, your body and how you feel should be discussed with your GP or health professional.
Unexplained changes might include lumps and swellings, not just affecting breasts or testicles but anywhere on your body. Make checking yourself all over a part of your daily routine.
Unusual bleeding can be a common early sign of some cancers. If you notice signs of blood when you cough or use the toilet, again don’t wait, instead make an appointment to talk it through with your GP.
When it comes to weight loss, we all experience quite normal, minor changes over time. If you notice sudden weight loss without dieting then again, this might also be an early sign of a more serious condition and should be explored with your doctor.
Continuous pain, experienced for more than 4 weeks is also something to discuss, especially if you are struggling to explain why you are experiencing it.
Persistent changes can include things such as continual bloatedness, coughs, and shortness of breath or changes to your voice lasting longer than three weeks. Every one of these should be discussed with your GP. This is especially important if you are a smoker or used to smoke.
They also include things such as new moles, or changes to moles you might already have on your body. Bowel and bladder habits are likely to be things we are already familiar with, if they change for a few weeks or if diarrhoea, constipation or problems passing urine become a problem then again these are issues you should make your GP aware of as soon as possible.
You should visit your GP or dentist if you experience mouth and tongue ulcers that last longer than three weeks and continual difficulty swallowing or pain caused by frequent indigestion or heartburn.
Many of us are already in the habit of paying attention to our bodies and noticing quickly if something is wrong. Don’t suffer in silence; let your GP know, even if it doesn’t seem like an issue to worry about…
There is every chance it is nothing serious, but being on the safe side is always important where health is concerned.
Getting the help and advice we need is the right thing to do, for peace of mind, for those who care about us and for our physical and mental health.