Cancer: How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? The ‘feeling’ that can be a sign

Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for

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The best weapon you have against cancer is early detection. That’s because cancerous growths become increasingly resistant to treatments the longer they are left. Unfortunately, spotting cancer early on is easier said than done because the symptoms are often vague.

Fatigue exemplifies the ill-defined nature of cancer symptoms.

“Fatigue means feeling very tired, exhausted and lacking energy. It can be a symptom of the cancer itself or a side effect of treatment,” explains Cancer Research UK.

Fatigue can have many causes and most are benign – putting in long hours at work say.

However, there are some telltale signs your fatigue is cancerous.

According to Cancer Research UK, “finding it hard to get up in the morning” can signal you have cancer-related fatigue.

Other signs include:

  • Lack of energy – you may just want to stay in bed all day
  • Feeling you just cannot be bothered to do much
  • Sleeping problems such as unable to sleep or disturbed sleep
  • Feeling anxious, sad or depressed
  • Pain in your muscles – you may find it hard to climb stairs or walk short distances
  • Being breathless after doing small tasks, like having a shower or making your bed
  • Finding it hard to concentrate, even just watching TV or talking to a good friend
  • Finding it hard to think clearly or make decisions easily
  • Loss of interest in doing things you usually enjoy
  • Negative feelings about yourself and others.

What could it signal?

Macmillan Cancer Support explains: “The cancer may cause swelling in certain parts of the body, making your limbs heavier and harder to move.

“You may also have a reduced number of red blood cells or changes in hormone levels, which can cause tiredness.”

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Fortunately, it is possible to manage fatigue.

“Your healthcare team may be able to help prevent or relieve fatigue and improve your quality of life,” explains Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity adds: “Cancer-related fatigue usually gets better after treatment finishes. But it may continue for months or even years. Everyone is different and there is no way to know how long fatigue may last for each person.”

General symptoms of cancer

As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms.

“Although it’s unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to speak to a GP so they can investigate. Finding cancer early means it’s easier to treat,” explains the NHS.

The health body continues: “If your GP suspects cancer, they’ll refer you to a specialist – usually within two weeks.”

It says to speak to a GP if you’ve noticed these changes and it’s lasted for three weeks or more:

  • Tummy discomfort
  • Blood in your poo
  • Diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • Pain in your stomach or back passage (anus)
  • your poo is loose, pale or looks greasy
  • Bloating.

Cancer UK latest

The cancer backlog caused by Covid could take five years to clear, warns Macmillan Cancer Support.

MacMillan Cancer Support estimates 32,000 fewer patients than expected have started their first treatment in the two years since the start of the pandemic, due to a combination of hospitals prioritising Covid, poor access to GPs and patients being reluctant to come forward.

While the pace is starting to pick up, the charity estimates the current backlog will take until September 2027 to clear.

The bottleneck will inevitably result in worse survival rates.

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