Cancer is the second deadliest condition in the United States. Each year almost 600,000 people die from over 100 known forms of cancer.

A cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be a death sentence. As medicine makes advances in cancer treatment, the survival rates rise.

A key part of raising the cancer survival rate lies in early detection and intervention. If you’re someone who visits the doctor once every two years, you might miss the signs.

How does cancer affect the body? The answer depends on what kind of cancer and your medical history. This guide lays out the common cancer symptoms. If you’re dealing with many of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

What Causes Cancer?

There is a mountain of old wive’s tales about what causes cancer. No, your sweet tooth probably won’t lead to cancer. But factors like smoking and sun exposure might cause cancer to form.

What is cancer? It is a genetic mutation that changes how your body’s cells work. The changes cause uncontrollable growth, and the cell won’t do its normal function.

Some genetic mutations are with you from birth, but they are rare. The majority of mutations come from outside forces like carcinogens and viruses.

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Cancer?

Catching and treating cancer early lead to an over 1% decline in the death rate. It might not seem like much, but that percentage grows every year. Improved treatments and screenings boosted men’s chance of survival by almost 2%.

Initial symptoms of cancer include:

  • Nighttime fevers with no obvious infection
  • Extreme prolonged fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • A mole that changed shape or color
  • Unexplained pain
  • Rapid weight loss of over 10 pounds

Many of these symptoms may signal a different health concern. To be careful, ask your doctor to run the necessary screenings. If they refuse, you may need to ask a lawyer what to know about your next step.

How Does Cancer Affect the Body?

Each form of cancer changes your cells in ways that cause different types of symptoms. Cancer in your lower body wouldn’t lead to throat problems. There are a few general cancer symptoms most patients go through, though.

General symptoms of cancer:

  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Changes to your bowel movements
  • Changes to your urinary habits
  • Difficulty breathing with a cough
  • Painful swallowing
  • Your stomach is always upset
  • Surprise bruises

Cancer located in the brain has more extreme symptoms. In some cases, cancer pinches neighboring nerves and causes loss of limb function. Patients may also go through stroke-like symptoms.

Catch Cancer Symptoms as Early as Possible

How does cancer affect the body? It changes the way your cells develop and turns them against you. Certain cancers spread to affect other types of cells, creating worse symptoms.

Your best fight against cancer is stopping it before there’s too much cellular damage. Pay close attention to any changes in how you feel. If you’re going through any of the symptoms in this guide for weeks, talk to your doctor.

Are you ready to learn more about how to stay happy and healthy? Visit our Health section and expand your knowledge.