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August 28, 2010

Eight signs of Cancer

According to British doctors there are eight signs, symptoms or test results that could improve early diagnosis of some cancers.
The researchers focused on changes that gave a one in 20 or higher chance of turning out to be cancer.

The symptoms include:
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Rectal blood.
  • Breast lump or mass.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Post-menopausal bleeding.
  • Abnormal prostate tests.
  • Anemia.
  • Blood in urine.
In certain age & sex groups, the eight symptoms or findings point to the need for urgent investigation by family doctors, Dr. Mark Shapley & colleagues from Keele University (halfway between Manchester & Birmingham) said in Friday's online issue of the British Journal of General Practice.

The conclusion was based on an analysis of 25 studies from the U.K., U.S., Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Denmark & Germany. The age of the patient is important, said Dr. Kevin Barraclough, a GP from Stroud.

"Iron deficiency anemia in a 21-year old female is extremely unlikely to be due to colorectal cancer, whereas in a 60-year old male, cancer is likely," Barraclough wrote in a journal editorial accompanying the study. The red flags reinforce the importance of encouraging patients to discuss worrying symptoms early with their GP, said Prof. Amanda Howe, honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners, which publishes the journal.

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