Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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In fact, back in 1997, when the lead guitarist was in his 50s, he discovered a cancerous lump on his neck. Recounting the ordeal, Harrison said: “I got it purely from smoking. I gave up cigarettes many years ago, but had started again for a while and then stopped in 1997. “Luckily, for me, they found that this nodule was more of a warning than anything else. It reminds you that anything can happen.”
The Oral Cancer Foundation reported that Harrison was treated with surgery and radiation.
Oral cancer can develop “on the surface of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth (palate), the lips or gums”, the NHS says.
Tumours can also develop in the glands that produce saliva, the tonsils at the back of the mouth, and the windpipe.
Symptoms of mouth cancer:
- Mouth ulcers that are painful and do not heal within several weeks
- Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth or the neck that do not go away
- Unexplained loose teeth or sockets that do not heal after extractions
- Unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue
- White or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue
- Changes in speech, such as a lisp.
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“See a GP or dentist if these symptoms do not get better within three weeks, particularly if you drink or smoke,” the national health service recommends.
People who drink alcohol and smoke are at an increased risk of mouth cancer.
These substances are carcinogenic, which means they contain chemicals that can damage the DNA in cells.
While Harrison’s cancer was cleared, four years later in July 2001, he announced he was being treated for a brain tumour.
Malignant (cancerous) brain tumours “grow more quickly are are more difficult to treat”, the NHS warns.
Symptoms can include:
- Headaches (often worse in the morning and when coughing or straining)
- Fits (seizures)
- Regularly feeling sick (vomiting)
- Memory problems or changes in personality
- Weakness, vision problems or speech problems that get worse.
By November of that year, Smooth Radio reported, the musician was told by doctors that he didn’t have long to live.
Britannica added that Harrison also suffered from lung cancer, which killed him on November 29, 2001, in Los Angeles, California.
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Cancer Research UK warns: “Lung cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms in its early stages.”
The symptoms of lung cancer can include:
- Having a new cough or a cough most of the time
- Getting out of breath doing the things you used to do without a problem
- Coughing up phlegm (sputum) with blood in it
- Having an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder
- Chest infections that keep coming back or a chest infection that doesn’t get better
- Losing your appetite
- Feeling tired all the time (fatigue)
- Losing weight.
Survival depends on many factors, the research charity adds stating that “there are no UK-wide statistics available for lung cancer survival by stage”.
As with any type of cancer, the sooner a tumour is identified, the sooner treatment can begin.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, with around seven in 10 cases attributed to the unhealthy habit.
“Even light or occasional smoking increases the risk of lung cancer,” Cancer Research UK adds.
“But your risk increases more the longer you smoke and the more you smoke. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health.”
If you are a smoker and you are ready to pack it in, contact the NHS Stop Smoking Service.
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