Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for
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It is a cruel fact of life that one in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. This statistic is sobering but it should not give rise to despair. There are proven ways to modify your risk of the deadly disease.
The role diet plays in influencing the risk of cancer is the subject of ongoing research.
Research indicates that processed meat is a direct cause of bowel cancer but there are some dietary components that may come as a surprise.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the more cantonese-style salted fish people consume, the “higher the risk” of some cancers.
Cantonese-style salted fish is characterised by using less salt and a higher degree of fermentation during the drying process than fish preserved (or salted) by other means, because of the relatively high outdoor temperature and moisture levels.
“A global recommendation about consumption of Cantonese-style salted fish has not been made as this type of fish is consumed only in specific parts of the world,” explains American Institute for Cancer Research.
“Nevertheless, the Panel advises that it’s best not to consume Cantonese-style salted fish.”
According to the health body, there is “strong evidence” that consuming Cantonese-style salted fish increases the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the part of the throat connecting the back of the nose to the back of the mouth (the pharynx).
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What’s behind the risk?
Cantonese-style salted fish contains nitrosamines and nitrosamine precursors.
High levels of one such nitrosamine, N-nitrosodimethylamine, found in some samples of Cantonese-style salted fish, has been shown to induce cancer development in experimental models in animals.
Other foods tied to cancer
Many studies have shown that eating lots of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.
It is estimated that around 13 out of 100 bowel cancer cases (around 13 percent) in the UK are linked to eating these meats.
Processed meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve it and/or add flavour – for example, bacon, salami, sausages, canned meat or chicken nuggets. And a portion is about two sausages or three slices of ham.
The Government recommends that people eating more than 90g of red and processed meat a day should reduce it to 70g or less. 70g is the cooked weight. This is about the same as two sausages.
“It might help to swap red meat for chicken or fish. Or use beans and pulses in meals instead of meat,” advises Cancer Research UK.
According to the charity, alcohol increases the risk of bowel cancer.
“It has been estimated that around six out of 100 bowel cancers (around six percent) in the UK are linked to drinking alcohol.”
UK recommendations state:
- Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.
General cancer symptoms
Symptoms to spot include:
- Unexplained pain or ache
- Very heavy night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unusual lump or swelling anywhere
- Unusual heartburn or indigestion.
“If you spot anything that isn’t normal for you – don’t ignore it,” advises Cancer Research UK.
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