5 Unexpected Signs of Cancer

There are some signs that may surprise you

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Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Trouble swallowing when you don’t have pain or discomfort may be a sign of esophageal cancer, according to medical experts.

A suspicious lump, pain in a specific area of your body, extreme fatigue or unexpected weight loss — these are symptoms typically associated with cancer. Sometimes, however, there are more subtle signs that may not set off alarm bells.

Most of the time these subtle symptoms could be caused by other more benign conditions, but J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society (ACS), says they still are worth sharing with your doctor, even if they turn out to be nothing. “Of all the visits [a doctor receives], only an extremely small fraction result in a diagnosis of cancer,” Lichtenfeld said.

Among symptoms to treat seriously:

Hoarseness

If hoarseness in your voice doesn’t go away after two weeks, it can be cause for concern — especially if you have not had a cold. Hoarseness can be a sign of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers, according to the ACS, because the vocal chords are affected by the cancer. Other signs include a sore throat and constant coughing.

Trouble swallowing

Trouble swallowing, even without pain or discomfort, may be a sign of esophageal cancer, Lichtenfeld said. The growing cancer causes the opening inside the esophagus to get smaller over time, causing a feeling of choking while eating. Often people will start “going from a solid diet, like steak and potatoes, and changing it over time to more liquids, more soups” without even really thinking about it, he added.

Droopy eyelids and pupil changes

Cancers of the upper part of the lungs are sometimes called Pancoast tumors, according to the ACS, and they can affect certain nerves to the eye and part of the face. The tumors create a condition called Horner syndrome, and ACS reports the symptoms as:

  • The appearance of drooping or weakness on one eyelid.
  • The appearance of a smaller pupil or dark part in the center of the eye.
  • Feeling reduced or absent sweating on the same side of your face.

Blood in your stool or urine

Blood in your stool is sometimes a result of hemorrhoids, but it can also be a sign of colon cancer. Blood in your urine is a potential sign of kidney or bladder cancer.

It’s also wise to track the color of your urine, Lichtenfeld said. Dark brown urine may be a sign of pancreatic cancer and should be addressed immediately. Difficulty urinating can also be a sign of prostate cancer for men.

Abdominal bloating

In women, swelling of the abdominal area, when combined with pain, can be a sign of ovarian cancer.

“We know our bodies best, we live with them all day,” Lichtenfeld said. But don’t try to be your own diagnostician: See a health professional and don’t be afraid to ask questions. “Don’t worry about a clinician looking down their nose when you ask.” The doctor may end up smiling and saying “don’t worry about it,” but it is still worth checking

 

 

 

 

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To You and Yours

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November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

epilepsy-awareness

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Suffering from Epilepsy this is very important to me. Epilepsy affects about 2 million people in the United States and is characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Delayed recognition of these seizures and inadequate treatment increases the risk for additional seizures, disability, decreased health-related quality of life and, in rare instances, death.

Although epilepsy can occur at any age, the condition is more likely to begin among children less than 2 years of age and adults older than 65 years. As do many who live with other chronic disorders, those with epilepsy often face challenges related to managing epilepsy treatment, symptoms, disability, lifestyle limitations, emotional stress, and stigma.

About 1 out of 10 people will have a seizure. That means seizures are common, and one day you might need to help someone during or after a seizure. Learn what you can do to keep that person safe until the seizure stops by itself.

First aid for generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures

When most people think of a seizure, they think of a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also called a grand mal seizure. In this type of seizure, the person may cry out, fall, shake or jerk, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

Here are things you can do to help someone who is having this type of seizure:

Do I call 911?

Call 911 if any of these things happen.

  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • The person has another seizure soon after the first one.
  • The person is hurt during the seizure.
  • The seizure happens in water.
  • The person has a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or is pregnant.
  • Ease the person to the floor.
  • Turn the person gently onto one side. This will help the person breathe.
  • Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. This can prevent injury.
  • Put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
  • Remove eyeglasses.
  • Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make it hard to breathe.
  • Time the seizure. Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

two female friends sitting down talking

First aid for seizures involves keeping the person safe until the seizure stops by itself.

First aid for any type of seizure

There are many types of seizures. Most seizures end in a few minutes. These are general steps to help someone who is having any type seizure:

  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends and he or she is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms.
  • Comfort the person and speak calmly.
  • Check to see if the person is wearing or a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
  • Keep yourself and other people calm.
  • Offer to call a taxi or another person to make sure the person gets home safely.

Cancer Prevention

Cancer is the general term for more than 100 diseases according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Although cancers can be found in different places throughout the body, they all begin with abnormal cell growth. Cancer starts when cells in a part of the body grow out of control. These cells multiply and invade into surrounding tissue, something normal cells don’t do. Cancer cells are sometimes inherited (for instance, someone who has a parent with cancer has a greater chance of cancer himself) but more often, a cancer cell is caused by something in the environment, such as cigarette smoking or sun exposure. Left untreated, cancer can cause serious illness and, in most cases, death.

To reduce your risk of cancer don’t smoke, limit sun exposure, be physically active, and eat healthy. There are also screening tests and exams for some types of cancers which can find an abnormality early and before it spreads. In general, the earlier cancer is found, the greater the chance for survival.

The ACS states nearly half of all men and a third of all women in the United States will develop cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, early detection and treatment of cancer has resulted in more cancer survivors. Ask your doctor what screenings and exams you should have and how often you should get them.

Living well after 50.

One in eight women will get breast cancer.

MedicAlert® Awareness Month: Celebrating the Services Behind Your Medical Bracelet

MedicAlert Foundation
By Carrie Soares on August 12th, 2014

MedicAlert – isn't every medical bracelet a MedicAlert bracelet? Unfortunately, the answer is no. While the MedicAlert name is synonymous with medical identification bracelets; not all bracelets are created equal. That is why, this August, we celebrate MedicAlert Awareness Month. This celebration is designed to educate the public about MedicAlert Foundation and the extra life-saving benefits that set us apart from general medical jewelry providers.

The collection of services found behind every MedicAlert medical ID bracelet is how shoppers can distinguish MedicAlert Foundation from all other medical ID providers in today’s market. Only MedicAlert continues to deliver 24/7 life-saving services that other providers simply can’t match.

MedicAlert Awareness Month is a special event to recognize that, for over 50 years, our foundation has continued to protect the health and well-being of millions of members’ worldwide. We do this by ensuring you receive proper medical treatment and care during an emergency.

 MedicAlert’s trusted 24/7 emergency support network, offers peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. If unresponsive; your personalized engraved MedicAlert medical ID will work for you, immediately connecting first responders and medical personnel to your up-to-date medical information.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

With a large number of states beginning the school year earlier, August is the new September! Along with school supply shopping and purchasing those back-to-school clothing items, it’s time to make comprehensive eye exam appointments for the kids. Conveniently, August is designated as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month!

A good rule of thumb is to have your children’s eyes examined during well-child visits, beginning around age three. Your child’s eye doctor can help detect refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as the following diseases:
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Strabismus (crossed eyes)
Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)
Color deficiency (color blindness)

If you or your doctor suspects that your child may have a vision problem, you can make an appointment with your local ophthalmologist for further testing. There are some specific warning signs that may indicate that your child has a vision problem. Some of these include:
Wandering or crossed eyes
A family history of childhood vision problems
Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects
Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television

Keeping your children’s eyes safe is another part of maintaining healthy vision. Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. There are about 42,000 sports-related eye injuries every year in America, and children suffer most of these injuries. Help prevent your child from being one of the more than 12 million children who suffer from vision impairment by remembering a few basic rules of safety:
All children should wear protective eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities

Purchase age-appropriate toys for your children and avoid toys with sharp or protruding parts (Source: HAP).

Help your children have a successful school year by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam and taking safety measures to ensure their eyes are free from injury. If you need assistance finding a licensed eye care specialist in your area, click here.
 

Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Awareness Month

June is a month designated to raise awareness about cancers affecting men and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

The cancers that most frequently affect men are:

Knowing about these cancers and how they can be prevented or found early can save your life.

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Brain Tumor Awareness Month


NATIONAL BRAIN TUMOR AWARENESS MONTHMay is the month to take action on brain tumors. Driven by advancement in research, surgical techniques, genetic discoveries and much more, the BTeAM believes everyone plays a role in defeating brain tumors and brain cancer.

There are several ways to be involved. Donating and participating in fundraisers, supporting legislation for research and making clinical trials accessible are only a few of the ways to get started.

HOW TO OBSERVE

For more information visit braintumor.org and use #BTeAM to share on social media.

There are an estimated 200,000 cases of brain tumors in the United States alone each and every year. These tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous, and they can sometimes begin in the brain. However, they can also be a result of cancer that has spread from other parts of the body into the brain and its surrounding tissues. Brain tumors can range from growths that are easily operate upon to large masses that can result in death. Other treatments can include radiation and chemotherapy. Brain tumors receive the best prognosis when they are caught early on, and before any cancerous cells can spread to areas of the brain that make it too risky to be operated on. Therefore, it is very important to pay close attention to the early warning signs. 

HISTORY

The National Brain Tumor Society supports National Brain Tumor Awareness Month annually.

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