According to the NHS, more than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the most common types of the disease are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. There are over 200 different types of cancer overall, each of which will have different symptoms. Some symptoms do overlap between the different types, however, one of which could be a sign of many different forms of the disease.
This symptom is unintentional weight loss. Sudden, noticeable weight loss can happen after a stressful event, but it can also be a sign of a serious illness.
According to the NHS, persistent, unintentional weight loss of more than five per cent of your weight over six to 12 months is “usually a cause for concern”.
Losing this much weight can be a sign of malnutrition, where a person’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients, and can also be a sign of cancer.
The NHS warns on paying particular attention to weight loss if you experience other symptoms such as tiredness, loss of appetite, a change in toilet habits and an increase in illnesses or infections.
Unexplained weight loss can be a sign of cancers including bowel cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer among others.
Other symptoms of bowel cancer include a persistent change in bowel habits, blood in the stools, and stomach pain and bloating brought on by eating.
Bowel habits changes can be the need to go to the toilet more often, with looser stools and with abdominal pain.
When unexplained weight loss is related prostate cancer, it’s usually a sign the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The earlier signs of prostate cancer include needing to pee more frequently, often during the night, needing to rush to the toilet, weak flow and straining while peeing.
Difficulty starting to pee, blood in urine or semen, and a feeling the bladder has not emptied fully are also symptoms.
As well as unintended weight loss, other signs prostate cancer has advanced include pain in the bones, back and testicles, and loss of appetite.
Other symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, a cough that gets worse, persistent chest infections, coughing up blood and persistent breathlessness.
An ache or pain when breathing or coughing, persistent tiredness or lack of energy, and loss of appetite are also symptoms of lung cancer.
“It’s normal to lose a noticeable amount of weight after the stress of changing jobs, divorce, redundancy or bereavement,” said the NHS.
“Weight often returns to normal when you start to feel happier, after you’ve had time to grieve or get used to the change.”
“You should see your GP if you’ve lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that can’t be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress,” said the NHS.
Daily Express :: Health Feed