I hate cancer—it has claimed too many lives.

I'm also deathly afraid of it. So that's a fun combination.

Until the day comes when we have a cure, the best we can do is to be vigilant with our bodies and our health.

If something feels off or if something pops up out of the ordinary on the body... get it checked out.

It's hard news to hear, but the sooner the better.

Redditor mrgrinchisameansong wanted to know what warning signs to look for regarding our health.

They asked:

"People who were diagnosed with cancer: what symptom made you go to the doctor?"

It all begins with recommended health screenings and self checks.

They suck doing, but better safe than sorry.

Stage 4...

"I had sporadic stomach pains that felt like gas pain for like 6 months. Even did a video chat with a doctor about it who told me he wasn't concerned because it didn't sound like appendix or gall bladder issue. Some months later pain was terrible one night."

"Went into the ER and found out I had stage 4 colon cancer. So basically terminal the day I found it at 38 years old. I definitely recommend getting a colonoscopy early or at the very least doing a blood test for CEA which is often produced by colon cancer." ~ Detroit1000

She got lucky...

"They found the cancer on my mom's intestine when they did a hysterectomy... which they only did because she was having abdominal pain and kept insisting something was wrong. Finally her OBGYN was like 'maybe it's a menopause thing? we can remove the uterus?' And then during the surgery they found it (that was a fun post-op visit)."'

"And the surgical oncologist on call happened to be an expert in her exact cancer, which is a rare one. So we were very lucky, and she's in remission now. But they would never have found it in time if she hadn't kept insisting that something was still wrong even when they tried to diagnose her with anxiety." ~ curiouscat86

A Fluke...

"I felt a lump in my wife's breast and convinced her to have it examined. Luckily it was relatively early (stage 2?) and after surgery and chemo she's fully recovered. The funny thing is, I sometimes think her other breast feels kind of lumpy, but she gets examined multiple times a year now and I'm sure they would catch it, so I figure I didn't really know what I was talking about, and it was only a fluke that I thought it was cancer and made her go see the doctor." ~ resolutefool

Better safe than sorry...

"Not myself, but my dad. Mostly little minor things that may or may not have been because of cancer, but the big indicator was his rather sudden inability to poop. Within about two or three months he went from normal to 'haven't been able to poop in 5 weeks.'"

"First doc misdiagnosed him, a month and a half and an ambulance ride later found out he had late stage 3/stage 4 colon cancer. Wasn't a whole lot they could do at that point, but there were things that improved his quality of life for the remainder of his life. They gave him 6 months, he lasted 2 years. The moral of the story is if you can't poop, go see a doc ASAP. Not being able to poop is not normal, and is not okay. Better safe than sorry." ~ Alphalfa91

Being 11...

"Had a grapefruit-sized lump forming in my upper thigh/hip area. Seeing as I was a naive 11 year old I thought it was a hernia or puberty related. Turned out to be primitive small cell sarcoma that spread to my lungs. Been all clear for 13 years now. Just left to deal with the mental aftermath and the potential of aftermath of the high strength drug treatment I was given at such a young age." ~ TheIconSting

This is all a lot, I know.

But so imperative to know.

Every little bit of information can be life saving.

Back in 2013...

"Woke up one morning with extreme abdominal pain. Went to the ER and was diagnosed with appendicitis. Had surgery that night to remove appendix and was released from the hospital the next day. A week later my surgeon called me and told me they found a tumor in my abdomen and sent a biopsy to the Mayo Clinic. Was diagnosed with psuedomyoxoma peritonei. 2 months later had surgery and chemo to remove the tumor. This was back in 2013." ~ user deleted

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"Blood in my poop. Told my doctor, had a colonoscopy and they found stage IV colon cancer. Been dealing with it for almost 2 years now." ~ ericlathrop

"I pray you're doing well now. Can I just ask, how did you detect blood in your feces? Was it full on blood, or dark spots in your feces? Because I've got dark spots in mine, not full on red blood... it might just be a result of what I eat, but I'm scared it might be something else." ~ Sky-lander

Oh Dad...

"Not me, my dad. He bought one of those stair lifts, used and after it was installed he fell off it (I'm not sure about exactly what happened) and was injured. He went to get checked for this injury because it kept hurting. They found a tumor in his kidney."

"Had a colonoscopy pre-op and they found another spot as well. They did surgery for both, removed the one kidney in full and two places on the colon. Neither cancer was related which is good because that means one had not spread. My dad will be 80 later this month."

"He is 2 years later and cancer free. He gets regular checkups and includes prior colonoscopys. The only way they might have found this would be a CT scan of the body, which they don't just do. I did recently hear that they don't recommend colonoscopy after a certain age which I find strange. But maybe it was without family history or something." ~ iluvminiatures


"I had a cough that got progressively worse over a few months to the point I was barely able to talk above a hoarse whisper. X-ray showed a shadow near my lungs, CT showed a softball-sized mass crushing my left lung, bloodwork, bone marrow biopsy and PET confirmed non-hodgkins lymphoma. Not what I was expecting at 25, but I went through 7 months of treatment and have been in remission for almost 8 years now!" ~ barnettjm2

The Aorta...

"I woke up struggling to catch my breath. Went to my physician and was told it's nothing, despite being able to feel a bulge in my abdomen. After another day of wheezing I got a CAT scan and was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, it'd already spread to both lungs and the other kidney, with the original tumor being the size of a grapefruit and had attached to my aorta. Been cancer free for 15 years now." ~ drumeradam11


"I had no symptoms; it was caught on a routine mammogram when it was too small to feel, even by experienced doctors, and it was just below the skin. Get your screenings! Mine was like a web, and you know when you look at a crack on the sidewalk and there's a slightly wider area? That's what the mammogram looked like."

"And I almost didn't have the biopsy because the doctor thought it was probably benign. ZOMG am I glad I did, except for one moment when I thought, 'If I hadn't had that biopsy, I wouldn't be going through this right now' and then went, 'Nope, nope, nope, you'd be going through something worse later if you hadn't done it.'" ~ notthesedays

Allergic to Air

"Around Thanksgiving last year I had a lump on my neck and that was the one that made me go in for cancer specifically. For a whole year I had been scratching myself crazy as if I was allergic to air. Had been going to the doctor every couple months trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. Night sweats so bad I'd change my sheets every day for a month."

"A week of no hunger at all towards about when the lump showed up. Never weighed myself but I dropped down to 120 lbs apparently. Wasn't till that lump showed up that everything clicked. I had Hodgkins lymphoma (blood cancer) stage 4. Obviously I'm alive but they don't call you cured till you've gone 2 years without a problem. A year and some to go till I'm cured." ~ AhegaoMilfHentai

The Healthiest

"Not me, my ex boyfriend. He had a UTI that wouldn’t go away. Scans revealed non treatable cancer throughout his major organs (can’t remember the name of it but it was very rare). He had surgery, chemo, radio, the works. Died less than a year after being diagnosed. He was 21 and the healthiest person I’ve ever met." ~ moonshadowfax


"Only semi-relevant as it wasn't cancerous, but the symptoms were caused by a primary tumor. It started with I thought were weird migraines. In addition to headaches, I'd just randomly vomit with only about 2-3 seconds warning and occasionally get really intense deja-vu like sensations about memories I knew couldn't possibly real. Later, this progressed to full tonic-clonic seizures." ~ Moctor_Drignall


"I had knee pains, started in my right knee, than my left. Had x-rays done, they found nothing, then pain started in my hip than to my back, more x-rays, the doctor notice a spot, had a cat scan or MRI down, don't remember and that when the notice the tumor on my spine." ~ ColEvilDead

If in doubt...

"Found a lump just above my collarbone. Only found it by chance when I woke up with a bad neck. In hindsight I'd been suffering with crippling fatigue - no energy to get off the couch, sleeping for 9 hrs and waking up as if I'd never had a sleep, napping for 2/3hrs at a time. Turned out to be stage 2 Hodgkins lymphoma, unfavourable due to the spread in my lymph nodes. I'm halfway through treatment and responding well. If in doubt, always go and get checked out." ~ hobslaur


"I got out of the shower and was drying my legs, for a few weeks I felt pressure around my throat but this time it was immense. Looked in the mirror and my face had turned blue. I had an 11cm tumour putting pressure on my throat and my arteries. I'd had breathing problems and itching and sweats night and day time for weeks. B cell stage 4 NHL. 10 years later and I have another child they said I never would and I'm okay." ~ cupantae88

Again, not normal...

"Can I answer for my brother? (He's no longer with us?) It was his weight gain. Two doctors in the state of Oregon said it was a thyroid problem -- the third in Maryland (USA) finally did tests and confirmed it was, indeed, cancer. He was hungry all the time, which wasn't normal."

"He also began talking about coffins, burial plans, and heaven. Again, not normal. Sadly, they weren't able to do much, but now we can educate others. If you ever feel swollen, sore, or hurt in your lymph nodes, or begin gaining weight randomly. It's better safe than sorry." ~ life_sentencer

Coughing Blood

"December 2015: my Dad passed out in the middle of the day. Luckily he was in public (and not alone at home) and some people called the ambulance. 2 days at the hospital and it's clear: lung cancer that has already spread into multiple other organs. October 1st 2016: died in the middle of the night. Coughed up a ton of blood, tried to reach the phone to call help, fell and cracked his head open." ~ DrPCox85

Hip Health

"Not me, but my mum had a sore hip for a couple of months. She tried Physio, Chiro, acupuncture etc. Eventually I convinced her to see a Dr and get a scan. By then it was too late, she had stage 4 lung cancer (never smoked in her life) which had metastasised and spread throughout her bones. She got lucky and put onto trial so we got to keep her for 2 years, otherwise she would have had 2 months." ~ moonshadowfax

So heartbreaking but with many uplifting outcomes.

Stay on top of research and screening.

We can beat cancer.

One survivor at a time.

Thank you all for sharing.

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