Is it a normal sign of aging or a symptom of something more sinister? As you get older, you may begin to fret about every bump and boo boo you feel. Truth be told, some may be more worrisome than others. Here are some possible cancer symptoms you should watch out for as you age:
Changes in your urine. It goes without saying that any kind of blood or discharge in your urine is a red flag that should be brought to your doctor's attention. But the amount you pee might also be an issue. The older you get, the more likely it is that you will feel the need to pee more often. But if you notice a sudden increase in the frequency of your bathroom trips — particularly at night — then it might be time to check things out.
Skin changes. Spot a new mole? Or maybe you noticed that an old mole seems to be changing shape or color. This could be a sign of skin cancer and should be checked out by your dermatologist immediately.
Breast lumps or redness. Ladies, you already know that you should be doing monthly self-exams to check for lumps in your breast tissue, right? Right? But you should also keep an eye on this area for skin changes, nipple discharge, and redness that could be a sign of something brewing underneath.
Spotting. This is another one for the ladies: A once-a-month period is bad enough, but if you find that you have also recently started spotting in between periods, you should let your doctor know.
Weight loss. If you're trying to lose weight, this may be a good thing. But if you're not trying, and the weight keeps sloughing off, this may be a sign of a bigger problem.
White or bright red patches on your mouth or lips. Smokers, if you notice these changes in your mouth, you need to see your health care provider. This could be a sign of oral cancer and should be checked out quickly.
Headaches. If you are not normally prone to headaches, you should take note if you suddenly find yourself popping aspirin on a daily basis. Chronic headaches can be caused by stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep as well as numerous other conditions.
Fatigue. If you're tired because you were up late and up again early running around trying to tackle your to-do list, then that is normal (albeit a bit stressful). But if you are tired all of the time for no discernible reason, that is not normal. And if it continues for several weeks, you should talk to your doctor to find out the cause.
Chronic coughing. It always seems difficult to shake a cough once you catch one. But the reality is that coughing should not last longer than 3-4 weeks. If it does — especially if you are a smoker — you should get checked out.
A good rule of thumb is to take notice — and talk to your doctor — about any new symptom that comes on suddenly and/or sticks around for several weeks. When in doubt, it's better to get checked out.
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