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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Aaliyah Rugg

Doctor warns of red flag signs of seven 'silent killers'

An expert has urged people to know the warning signs of seven silent cancer killers.

Silent cancer is a term often used to describe cancers that either do not show any noticeable early symptoms or when early symptoms can be mild and overlap with other less severe conditions. This can lead to individuals not seeking help soon enough.

Dr Ahmed El-Modir, consultant oncologist at Spire Little Aston Hospital has given seven silent cancers and the risk factors behind them. They include bowel, cervical, liver, lung, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer.

READ MORE: Our reporter visited the scene where Nicola Bulley went missing and found a village in shock

Bowel cancer

According to the NHS, bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60.

Common symptoms include persistent abdominal pain, bloating, cramps and changes in your bowel habits (eg constipation, diarrhoea or thinner stools). You may also notice blood in your stools, have the urge to open your bowels even after recently passing stools, and unintentionally lose weight.

The biggest risk factor for bowel cancer is age but your risk is also increased if there is a family history or lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a cancer that's found anywhere in the cervix. Cervical cancer usually grows very slowly and can often be prevented through a cervical screening test.

Common symptoms include vaginal bleeding in between your periods, during or after sex and after menopause, heavier periods, changes to your vaginal discharge, pain during sex and pain in your lower back, lower abdomen and pelvic area.

According to Dr El-Modir, Cervical cancer is more common in those aged under 45 and those with a weakened immune system, for example, due to HIV or AIDS. Your risk of cervical cancer is also higher if you've given birth to children before age 17, had multiple births, have not been vaccinated against HPV or previously had bladder, kidney, vaginal or vulval cancer.

Liver cancer

Liver cancer is a cancer that's found anywhere in the liver. How serious it is depends on where it is, how big it is and whether it has spread.

Many symptoms of liver cancer relate to digestion issues such as nausea, vomiting, paler stools, darker urine and feeling full after eating only a small amount of food. You may notice a lump on the top right side of your abdomen, feel pain in this area, and experience abdominal swelling that isn't caused by eating.

Other symptoms include jaundice, where the whites of your eyes become yellow, pain in your right shoulder, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever and feeling unwell.

Your risk of liver cancer is higher if you are male, have a family history, are aged over 60 or if you have diabetes, hepatitis or liver flukes.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. More than 43,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.

Symptoms include a persistent cough, breathlessness when performing activities that usually aren't a strain, coughing up blood, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain in your chest or shoulders, repeated or persistent chest infections, and unintentional weight loss.

Your risk is increased through smoking, toxic chemicals such as asbestos, arsenic and coal fumes, and exposure to high levels of radon gas.

Ovarian cancer

Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer, but it mostly affects those over 50. Many symptoms overlap with period symptoms including abdominal bloating, back pain, fatigue and persistent pain or tenderness in your pelvic area.

Other symptoms include constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, feeling full after eating only a small amount, unintentional weight loss, sudden urges to urinate and urinating more often.

The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age but also with a family history, have endometriosis or diabetes and have never used any hormonal contraception.

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a cancer that's found anywhere in the pancreas. Many symptoms include bloating, changes in your stools, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

You may also experience back pain and pain in your upper abdomen, which feel better when you lean forward and worse when you lie down or eat. Other symptoms include jaundice, where the whites of your eyes become yellow, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, fever and fatigue.

You may be more likely to get pancreatic cancer if you are over the age of 75 or have a family history. Certain medical conditions also increase your risk, including chronic pancreatitis, diabetes, gallstones and metabolic syndrome.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years. Symptoms of prostate cancer usually only occur once the tumour is large enough to press against the urethra.

Symptoms include difficulty urinating, needing to urinate more often and the sensation that your bladder is not completely empty even after urinating.

Your risk of prostate cancer increases with age and if you are overweight or obese, or have a close relative who had prostate cancer. Your risk is also increased due to ethnicity as well as diet.

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