I’m an oncologist and here’s 7 ‘silent’ cancers that can creep up without you knowing

CANCER will hit everyone at some point.

Regardless of whether you are diagnosed with the disease yourself or have a loved one or friend who struggles with the disease, one in two of us will get it, says Cancer Research UK.

One expert warned that silent cancer is often spotted when you're being screened for something else

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One expert warned that silent cancer is often spotted when you’re being screened for something elsePhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

It’s always important to see your GP if you start noticing strange symptoms, but some cancers don’t have signs that are easy to spot.

These are referred to as “silent killers,” with symptoms often overlapping with other diseases, leaving many people feeling tired or in pain.

dr Ahmed El-Modir, consultant oncologist at Spire Little Aston Hospital, said this means silent cancer is often discovered at an advanced stage or incidentally.

For example, they could be detected when you are doing tests for another, unrelated medical condition.

Here goes Dr. El-Modir reviews the seven types of cancer most likely to go undetected and what to look out for.

1. Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in the UK and the second leading cause of death, according to Bowel Cancer UK.

In the UK, nearly 43,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, and more than nine in ten new cases are in people over the age of 50.

dr El-Modir said that colorectal cancer refers to cancer of the colon (colon), which includes your colon and rectum, and is also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts.

“Common symptoms include persistent abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, and changes in your bowel habits (such as constipation, diarrhea, or lighter stools).

“You may also notice blood in your stools, have the urge to open your bowels even after you’ve recently had a bowel movement, and unintentionally lose weight,” he said.

Who is at risk?

The oncologist said your age is the biggest risk factor and it increases with age.

You are also at risk if you have a family member who developed the disease before the age of 50 and if you smoke, drink heavily, and lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Researchers previously found a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and colon cancer.

It turns out that adults, especially women, who eat two or more meals a day to quench their thirst “double” their risk of colon cancer before age 50.

Soft drinks, fruit-flavored beverages, and sports and energy drinks all pose a significant threat, according to the study.

2. Cervical Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 850 deaths from cervical cancer in the UK each year.

dr El-Modir said to catch it, all women over the age of 25 are offered regular cervical screening to test for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection — which is a leading cause.

“Common symptoms include vaginal bleeding between your periods, during or after sex, and after menopause, heavier periods, changes in your vaginal discharge, pain during sex, and pain in your lower back, lower abdomen, and pelvic area,” he said.

Who is at risk?

Cervical cancer is more common in people under the age of 45 and people with a weakened immune system, said Dr. El-Modir.

Your risk of cervical cancer is also higher if you have children before the age of 17, have had multiple births, have not been vaccinated against HPV, or have previously had bladder, kidney, vaginal or vulva cancer, he added.

3. Liver Cancer

Liver cancer can affect any part of your liver that’s above your abdomen on the right side of your body, the expert explained.

Around 5,700 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Many liver cancer symptoms are related to digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, light-colored stools, dark-colored urine, and feeling full after eating even a small amount of food.

“You may notice a lump on the upper right side of your abdomen, feel pain in that area, and experience abdominal swelling that is not caused by eating,” said Dr. El-Modir.

Other symptoms include jaundice, which makes the whites of your eyes turn yellow, pain in your right shoulder, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, tiredness, fever and feeling unwell, he added.

Who is at risk?

dr El-Modir said your risk of liver cancer is higher if you are male, have a close relative (sibling or parent) who has had it, or are over 60 years old.

Your risk is also increased if you have diabetes, gallstones, hepatitis, HIV, cirrhosis, or infected liver flukes, he said.

4. Lung Cancer

According to The UK Lung Cancer Coalition, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the UK with over 35,000 deaths per year.

dr El-Modir said symptoms include persistent cough, shortness of breath during non-strenuous activities, coughing up blood, fatigue, loss of appetite, chest or shoulder pain, repeated or persistent chest infections, and unintentional weight loss.

Who is at risk?

The expert said that seven out of ten cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking.

“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is more common in smokers, is also a major risk factor.

“Other risk factors for lung cancer include frequent inhalation of diesel exhaust and other toxic chemicals such as arsenic, asbestos, coal smoke and silica.

“Exposure to high levels of radon gas, which occurs naturally but can accumulate in buildings, also increases the risk of developing lung cancer,” he added.

5. Ovarian Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 4,100 deaths from ovarian cancer in the UK each year.

Ovarian cancer refers to cancer of the egg-producing organs in women (ovaries) and many symptoms overlap with those occurring during a period.

dr El-Modir said these include bloating, back pain, fatigue and persistent pelvic pain or tenderness.

“Other symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling full after eating even a small amount, unintentional weight loss, sudden urges to urinate and urination more frequently,” he added.

Who is at risk?

Women over 45 are most at risk, as are women with diabetes or endometriosis, women with faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and women with a close female relative (mother or sister) who has ovarian cancer, said Dr. El-Modir.

Smoking and being overweight also increase your risk, as does taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat menopause, he added.

6. Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer can affect any part of your pancreas that sits behind your abdomen, where your ribs meet at the bottom of your breastbone, the expert said.

It’s the 10th most common cancer, with over 10,000 people diagnosed each year, says Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Many symptoms of pancreatic cancer are related to digestion, such as gas, stool changes, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, explains Dr. El-Modir.

He explained: “You may also have back pain and upper abdominal pain, which feels better when you lean forward and worse when you lie down or eat.

“Other symptoms include jaundice, where the whites of your eyes turn yellow, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, fever and fatigue,” he said.

Who is at risk?

Your risk of pancreatic cancer is higher if you smoke, drink heavily, are overweight, or are older than 75, said Dr. El-Modir.

“Although most cases of pancreatic cancer do not run in families, you are at increased risk if a close relative (parent or sibling) has had pancreatic cancer or if you carry a faulty BRCA2 gene.

“Certain medical conditions also increase your risk, including chronic (long-term) pancreatitis, diabetes, gallstones, and metabolic syndrome,” he added.

7. Prostate Cancer

According to Prostate Cancer UK, around one in eight men in England will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Prostate cancer refers to cancer of the prostate in men, a walnut-sized gland that makes fluid part of semen, said Dr. El-Modir.

It is located at the bottom of the bladder and encloses the tube through which urine leaves your body (the urethra).

He explained that symptoms of prostate cancer usually don’t appear until the tumor is big enough to press against the urethra.

“Symptoms include difficulty urinating, urinating more frequently, and feeling like your bladder isn’t completely empty even after you urinate,” he said.

Who is at risk?

Your risk of prostate cancer increases with age and is consequently more common in men over the age of 50, with most cases occurring in men aged 75 to 79, said Dr. El-Modir.

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He explained that you are also at higher risk if you are overweight or obese or have a close relative (father or brother) who has prostate cancer.

“Men of Afro-Caribbean descent have a higher risk than Caucasian men, while men of Asian descent have a lower risk than Caucasian men,” he added.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/7301185/oncologist-silent-cancers-creep-without-knowing/ I’m an oncologist and here’s 7 ‘silent’ cancers that can creep up without you knowing

Emma James

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