Here's a sobering statistic: About 38.4% of people will eventually develop cancer sometime in their life. The most common cancers are breast, lung, prostate, colon, rectum, skin and bladder -- although there are plenty of other contenders. All of them are potentially lethal.
Advances in modern medicine, however, can do wonders -- improving your odds of overcoming cancer like never before. However, that's only if you get a diagnosis in time. Otherwise, you may miss your window of opportunity to halt the disease from spreading and becoming unstoppable.
That's why it's important to know the following signs of cancer that are often overlooked:
1. Extreme fatigue
The world can be a tiresome place -- but if you're feeling unusually weary and there's no particular reason you should be so exhausted, it's time to see your doctor.
2. Unexpected weight loss
If you're trying to lose weight -- hurrah! On the other hand, if you're experiencing weight loss that you can't explain, you need to mention it to your doctor as soon as possible.
3. Unexplained bruises
Maybe you always have a few bumps and bruises you don't remember getting -- but if it seems like you're bruising at a mere touch, it's time to have your doctor do a blood test for anemia. Anemia can be a hallmark of some cancers.
4. Lumps and rashes
Skin cancer often manifests as a small lump, mole or pimple that comes out of nowhere. It can also seem like a sore that just won't heal. In addition, any lump in your breasts, under your arms, or in your groin should concern you -- and your doctor.
5. Bloating that won't go away
A bloated belly can happen simply because you ate too much -- but if it doesn't go away quickly, you need to see a doctor. Bloating can be a sign of cervical cancer, colon cancer and stomach cancer.
6. Difficulty swallowing
Esophageal cancer and throat cancer are among the fastest growing cancers in the country, and they often present with nothing more than a lump in the throat.
Unfortunately, doctors don't always take such complaints seriously. They may dismiss symptoms as just stress, skip a necessary referral to a specialist or overlook some needed tests. If that leads to a delayed diagnosis of your cancer, you may need to consider taking legal action for medical malpractice.