Thursday, October 06, 2011

10 Warning Signs Of Cancer

Recently I came across an article titled 10 Warning Signs Of Cancer. I shared the link on Facebook and thought I could share some thoughts about the article. You can read the article here.

For those who are going to laugh or brush this off, let me put things into perspective: I HAD 4 out of these 10 warning signs. I'm not saying that when one has these 10 symptoms or warning signs, one has cancer. But it DEFINITELY calls for a visit to the doctor. 

The 4 I had were:
1) Fatigue and weakness
I slept, and I slept a lot. A few months before I was first diagnosed, every weekend, without fail (unless I had to wake up early), I'll be having a good long session of about 13- to 15-hours. If I do not have to wake up for work the next day, I'll be clocking in those hours as well. And it is not because I sleep late on weekdays and hence I needed to catch up on my beauty sleep. I usually sleep by 12 midnight and wake up at 7am.
I felt tired easily and after work, I simply had no energy to do anything.
2) Unusual bleeding
The first nose bleed on CNY was brushed off as too much bak kwa, hence heaty, hence nose bleed. If I recall correctly, the second nose bleed came about 3-4 weeks later, the third was about 2 weeks later. Then it became more frequent, to a weekly affair, then to once-in-2-3 days affair. 
3) Swollen lymph nodes
There was a swell below my right ear, near the jaw, on the neck. The swell never once subsided, it just grew and grew and grew. Turning my head was such a chore as it was damn painful.
4) Persistent pain, fever, cough
A few months before I was diagnosed, I fell ill quite frequently, with flu and cough. Ok, maybe we could or want to pass that off as immunity weak or I was working too hard, etc...
However, we cannot disregard the fact that I started to have fever on the night after I had my first radiotherapy session (blog post here). The fever never left and I started to have backaches as well (blog post here). Even a few weeks after I'm done with radiotherapy, the fever and backaches still haunted me (blog post here). It was only after a PET scan was done, that we realised that my cancer had spread.

Please remember that for some cancers, there's a higher chance of survival if it's diagnosed during the early stages. I'm probably a miracle case as I was 2-6 months away from knocking on death's gate. Who could have thought that one with liver and bone metastasizes could survive? Moreover, from the day I was first diagnosed till the day it was discovered that it has spread, it was just a little more than 3 months. In 3 months, the cancer cells decided to turn aggressive, wreck havoc and party round my body. Even my oncologist said that chemo is to help keep me around longer, with the option to cure.

It's your life and it pays to be vigilant. 

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