We’ve heard the saying mentioning that we should listen to our bodies. When something is wrong, our bodies will react to let us know that something isn’t right. However, many choose to ignore the warning signs because they fear going to the hospital or they figure that whatever the case may be that it will go a way on its own. And sometimes they do, and in other cases the symptoms worsen without proper treatment.
According to cancer specialist, Dr. Edward T. Creagan, he states that:
“The careful physician will encourage you to elaborate on how you’re feeling, and then with insight, professionalism, and judgment can outline the most appropriate tests to home in on your symptoms.”
He outlines ten symptoms that we should not ignore in his latest book, How Not to Be My Patient: A Physician’s Secrets for Staying Healthy and Surviving Any Diagnosis.
- Fatigue lasting more than a week without obvious explanation.
- Cough that lasts more than 5 to 10 days, especially if you are a smoker and particularly if you start coughing up thick green or bloody mucus.
- Pain that lasts more than 3 to 5 days in a specific area without obvious explanation.
- Chest pain is the big one many men and women foolishly ignore. Don’t toy with disaster. Get emergency care now.
- Blood in the rectum, stool, urine, or mucus.
- A new lump or bump, not particularly painful or associated with trauma. Cancer usually is not painful. A lump or bump that has occurred relatively quickly and feels tender is almost always not cancer. But if it doesn’t disappear over a week or so and you can’t remember if you hurt yourself there, see your doctor.
- Moles: If a mole rapidly appears or darkens or itches over a relatively short number of months, or starts to bleed, you need to have a biopsy (cells viewed under a microscope).
- Weight loss: As a society, we are consumed with diets. But weight loss without a diet is another matter. Many people who experience a dramatic loss of weight might dance with joy. But a relatively quick loss of weight—faster than 2 or 3 pounds a week—may signal an underlying problem.
- Headaches often are related to tension and stress and rarely are brain tumors, although that can be your first thought. Don’t ignore the new onset of a new type of headache, especially if it occurs in the morning and increases when you cough or sneeze.
- Stroke signs: Weakness of an arm or a leg, or numbness and tingling of an arm, leg, the face or tongue, or difficulty with speech, could indicate the potential onset of a stroke. Stroke causes the death of brain tissue because the blood supply to certain parts of your brain is interrupted. This is a 911 emergency.
“Ultimately, your health is in your hands,” says Dr. Creagan. “No one has a greater stake in your health than you do.”