HOW you feel in the morning could be a major warning sign of cancer, an expert has said.
The disease can often evade detection by causing vague symptoms.
Or, it could simply go unnoticed, or dismissed as something else.
But early detection of cancer is key to survival. With most forms, the earlier it is found, the greater chance of prolonging life.
Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click, said how you wake up in the morning can give clues, the Express reported.
Waking up with a sore throat that is “persistent” and has been there for over two weeks with no signs of improving is a telltale sign, warned Mr Kanani.
The same goes for a cough, said the pharmacist.
“Smokers often wake up with a cough in the morning. However, a persistent cough for longer than two weeks should be checked out. Especially if you smoke.”
A persistent cough is a key warning sign of the deadliest form of cancer – lung cancer, diagnosed 47,000 times in the UK every year.
Chances are, if you’re a non-smoker especially, it won’t be anything to worry about. However, people who have never lit a cigarette in their life are still diagnosed with the disease.
Meanwhile, a sore throat can be indicative of cancer of the throat, laryngeal (voice box) or thyroid.
Another cancer sign that could strike the first thing in the morning is fatigue, which may leave you exhausted over the day, too.
Mr Kanani explained: “It’s normal to feel a little tired in the morning, but if this is not usual for you, or you are noticing fatigue lasting throughout the day, you should get this checked out.”
Fatigue is one of the most common signs of cancer. But it can be brushed off as a normal part of life, or caused by something else.
Often there is another cause of fatigue. But it’s best to get it checked out.
Fatigue is particularly worrisome if it is accompanied by other worrying signs, Mr Kanani said.
Lastly, Mr Kanani said: “If you wake up in the morning and the bed is wet or damp from sweat, this indicates that you could have been experiencing night sweats.
“Get this checked out with your GP, especially if night sweats are accompanied by fatigue, weight loss or bruising.”
Sweating at night can be a very early warning sign of a host of cancers, most notably lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
But there are dozens of other causes, such as the menopause, anxiety, low blood sugar or an infection.
Seeing your GP can help rule out cancer and get to the bottom of what’s behind your night sweats.
Common cancer signs
There are over 200 different types of cancer that can cause many different symptoms, says Cancer Research UK.
Some common signs that come up with almost every type include:
Unexplained weight loss
Cancer Research UK states: “If you normally weigh ten stones and lose half a stone in a month, or a stone in six months, that would need investigating.”
Unusual swellings or lumps
Persistent lumps or swelling in any part of your body should be taken seriously.
That includes any lumps in the neck, armpit, stomach, groin, chest, breast or testicle.
Look out for any new moles or any changes in the size, shape or color of existing ones.
Blood in pee or poo
Blood in your poo is one of the red flag warning signs of bowel cancer – the second deadliest cancer in the UK.
If you spot blood in your pee, it could be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.
Pee or period problems
Dribbling, leaking, a desperate urge or waking up busting in the night, pain or struggling to wee when you want to should all ring alarm bells. It could be a sign of prostate cancer in men, for example.
Women should also look out for unexplained vaginal bleeding or ‘spotting’ between periods, after sex or after the menopause.
If you have pain lasting longer than four weeks, unexplained pain, or pain that comes and goes – this is a key red-flag warning sign.
According to Cancer Research, most cancer pain is caused by the tumor pressing on bones, nerves or other organs in the body.
If you notice heartburn that doesn’t go away and you’re regularly suffering bouts of it, it’s important to get checked out.
It can be a sign of stomach or throat cancer.
Feeling as though food is getting stuck when you’re eating or pain on swallowing is the most common symptom of oesophageal cancer.