Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Cancer can be fiendishly difficult to stop once it has hatched in the body. That’s because cancerous cells proliferate and spread to neighbouring regions. However, measures can be taken to mitigate the risk of cancer altogether.
Anyone can develop cancer but you can move up the scale of risk by making poor lifestyle decisions.
According to Cancer FactFinder – a new health website that applies scientific scrutiny to common claims about cancer risk – alcohol use can increase your risk by an order of magnitude.
The health website says: “There is strong agreement that alcohol use can cause several types of cancer, and it has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (meaning that it is cancer-causing in humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).”
It adds that there is a strong “dose-response association” between alcohol use and cancer.
This means the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time, the higher a person’s risk is of developing an alcohol-associated cancer.
- Head and neck: Moderate drinkers have 1.8-fold higher risk of oral cavity and pharynx (throat) cancers and 1.4-fold higher risk of larynx (voice box) cancers than non-drinkers. Heavy drinkers have five-fold higher risk of oral cavity and pharynx cancers and 2.6-fold higher risk of larynx cancers (NCI).
- Oesophageal: Compared with those who do not drink alcohol, the risk ranges from 1.3-fold higher for light drinkers to nearly five-fold higher for heavy drinkers (NCI).
- Liver: Heavy alcohol drinking is associated with approximately two-fold increased risk of two types of liver cancer.
- Breast: The cancer risk increase is greater in moderate drinkers (1.23-fold higher) and heavy drinkers (1.6-fold higher).
- Colorectal: Moderate to heavy alcohol drinking is associated with 1.2- to 1.5-fold increased risk of cancers of the colon and rectum, compared with no alcohol consumption.
The association is of particular concern in the UK, where rates of alcohol misuse are particularly high.
In England, among people aged 15 to 49 years, alcohol is the leading cause of ill-health, disability, and death, according to Government statistics published last year.
Diabetes: The golden drink that lowers blood sugar [TIPS]
Covid symptoms: The ‘top’ sign seen in 69% of patients [INSIGHT]
Vitamin deficiencies: Two shortages known to interfere with clotting [ADVICE]
Alcohol misuse across the UK is a significant public health problem with major health, social and economic consequences, estimated at between £21 and £52 billion a year.
According to Government statistics, around 21 percent of the adult population in England and 24 percent of adults in England and Scotland, regularly drink at levels that increase their risk of ill health (increasing risk and higher risk drinkers).
The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) advise that to keep the risk from alcohol low, adults should not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:
- Half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6 percent)
- A single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40 percent).
Other risk factors
According to Cancer Research UK, smoking causes at least 15 different types of cancer. And tobacco is the biggest cause of cancer in the world.
How? The charity explains: “Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that damage the DNA in your cells. And it’s not just dangerous for your lungs – tobacco damages cells around your entire body.”
Other risk factors include:
- Older age
- A personal or family history of cancer
- Some types of viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Specific chemicals.
Symptoms to spot and how to respond
It’s important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms.
The NHS explains: “Although it’s unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to speak to a GP so they can investigate. Finding cancer early means it’s easier to treat.”
General signs include changes in bowel habits, bloating and coughing, chest pain and breathlessness.
“If your GP suspects cancer, they’ll refer you to a specialist – usually within two week,” adds the NHS.
Source: Read Full Article