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Cancer: A Death Sentence for the Elderly?

Cancer Screening: Can it save my life?

Cancer Warning Signs Page #1

Cancer Signs Page #2

Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer Treatment Page #1

Cancer Treatment Page #2

10 Lessons Cancer Taught Me

10 Lessons Cancer Taught me Page #2

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Alzheimer's Disease

General Information and Referral-St. Louis, MO

Health Insurance 101 for Senior Citizens 

Depression among the Elderly

Long term care insurance: What is it really?

Medicare: How will it help me?

Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know?

Personal Safety for Grandma and Grandpa

Prescription Medication: You have to get it right

Social Security: Can I get it now?

Senior Housing Options

Senior Care Psychological Consulting

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Cancer: What are the warning signs?

Recognizing the warning signs of cancer:

In the early stages, the warning signs of cancer are usually vague and general.  Some of the symptoms may even be caused by other illnesses or conditions.  However, even vague symptoms may provide early signs of cancer, with your vigilance resulting in improved early detection, treatment and remission.  Some of these vague symptoms include night sweats, fatigue and new and persistent pain.  A person experiencing any these symptoms should be examined by a physician immediately. Some symptoms are common to various forms of cancer including pain, bleeding, enlarged lymph nodes, unexplained weight loss and nausea.  However, each specific form of cancer also has its own warning signs, such as lumps in the breast in breast cancer, difficulty swallowing in esophageal cancer and yellowish skin (jaundice) in pancreatic cancer. 


A prominent sign of cancer is that when it begins to grow, it eventually starts pressing in on and begins invading surrounding tissues, frequently resulting in pain.  At the very beginning most cancers are not painful, and some even remain painless as they progress.  It is simply not true that all cancers cause pain, and you should never ignore symptoms that are painless believing they are not signs of cancer. 


Cancer tends to lead to bleeding relatively quickly as the cells are not bound together very tightly making them quite fragile.  Cancers may also grow into surrounding blood vessels causing them to bleed.  The location of the bleeding is frequently indicative of where the cancer is developing, with colon cancer resulting in blood in the stool and kidney cancer causing blood to show up in the urine.  However, you need to realize that bleeding can be the result of other diseases besides cancer and is not always definitively a sign of cancer.  Sometimes bleeding is internal and not obvious.  In fact, unusual fatigue that does not improve with rest may be indicative of internal bleeding.  Bleeding and bruising easily may also be indicative of leukemia, although leukemia causes bleeding through a different physiological mechanism. The platelets in the bloodstream are lowered as the bone marrow begins producing cancer cells instead.  People with low platelet levels are known to bleed much easier than people with higher platelet levels. 

Enlarged lymph nodes:  

Some cancers spread quite quickly to nearby lymph nodes in the early stages.  Cancerous lymph nodes become large and hard and may be difficult to move around.  Unlike infected lymph nodes, they are usually painless. 

See warning signs of cancer Page #2

Some information from The Merck Manual of Health of Aging 

Additional information and web page by Paul Susic M.A. Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Health Psychology) 


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