There are four symptoms that you may have cancer.
Doctors have advised the public to be aware of early cancer symptoms in order to better manage the fatal disease, which has a low survival rate if identified in advanced stages.
Dr. Nixon Niyonzima, the chief of research and training at Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), said Wednesday that more than 70% of cancers are identified late, at stage three or four, when they are incurable.
“Getting a timely diagnosis is the greatest strategy to beat cancer.” Surgery can be performed and those lesions removed if the cancer is still in its early stages. Even if aberrant cells are found during screening, they can be surgically eliminated,” Dr. Niyonzima noted.
One of the warning indicators to look out for, according to Dr. Niyonzima, is unexplained weight loss.
“The early symptoms of cancer are not particular in the sense that they are symptoms and indications that are similar to many diseases,” he added. “In general, we talk about unexplained symptoms like weight loss of more than 10% that is inexplicable or unexpected.”
Unexpected bleeding from any opening of the body part is another sign that Dr Niyonzima has warned the public to be aware of.
“The other symptom is inexplicable bleeding, which can come from the cervix, the mouth, or even under the skin.” All of these are cancer symptoms, but they are non-specific because they could also be symptoms of other illnesses.
Another symptom or sign is persistent discomfort or pain that lasts for an extended period of time and is not triggered by anything specific, as well as swellings of any kind.
“We also highlight inexplicable and long-standing aches,” he added. “If you don’t have an injury but have long-standing pains that you can’t explain, it could be a warning sign.”
Dr. Niyonzima further noted that not all of the above symptoms indicate malignancy.
“There are a lot of elements that go into surviving cancer. First and foremost, if the patient is detected early. So, here at the institute, 70 percent of malignancies are stage three or four, and for some cancers, 85 percent.
When it comes to breast cancer, 77 percent of our patients are in stage three or four, and the same is true for cervical cancer. Our five-year survival rate for those cancers, on the other hand, is 52 percent, which means they survive longer than five years.”
What can you do to avoid cancer?
Vaccination, according to Dr. Niyonzima, is the first step in preventing cancer, particularly cervical cancer.
“The first step in preventing cancer is immunization against malignancies that can be vaccinated against, such as those caused by HPV. Hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of cancer, and immunizations are readily available and free,” he explained.
“The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes a variety of malignancies, the most prevalent of which being cervical cancer. “This virus can be vaccinated against, especially in people who aren’t sexually active yet, and we’re targeting the age period of 10-14 years,” he said.
A change in lifestyle can also aid in the prevention or management of cancer.
How to Stay Cancer-Free
Doctors recommend that people adjust their lifestyles to avoid cancer by exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet. According to UCI, 7,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, with a total of 34,000 cancer cases diagnosed each year.