Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells the body cannot control. Normal cells are programmed to die when they become old, but cancer cells do not die and continue to replicate, forming more cancer cells.
There are many types of cancer that can originate in almost any part of the body, such as the liver, bladder, or lung. Cancer cells can form a solid mass called a tumor when left to grow. Unlike others, leukemia and lymphoma are blood cancers and do not form a mass.
The signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is and how much it has spread. It is important to note that some cancers do not cause symptoms until they are large or have spread to parts of the body where symptoms are more noticeable.
Common signs and symptoms of cancer include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Persistent cough
- Weakness or dizziness
- Loss of normal bodily functions, such as bowel problems for colorectal cancer or loss of balance or coordination for brain cancer
- Mass or lump, such as in the breast
- Pain from a tumor pressing on nerves or organs
- Skin changes, such as discolorations or sores that won’t heal
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained bleeding anywhere in the body
- Unexplained fever, which often occurs after cancer has spread
If you have any of these symptoms, see one of our trusted doctors affiliated with Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento, especially if the problem has been happening for some time. Using the latest tools and technologies, we can provide an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing Cancer at Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento
Depending on your symptoms, seeing your primary care doctor is a good place to start to get to the bottom of a possible cancer diagnosis. Your family medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam will help your doctor determine the best next steps, which may include referral to a specialist.
Doctors at Dignity Health often use these trusted tests and procedures to check for cancer:
- Lab tests, such as blood and urine tests to look for cancer cells and other signs of cancer
- Diagnostic imaging tests, such as MRI, X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, and ultrasound to detect tumors or other possible causes of your symptoms
- Biopsies, in which the doctor removes a sample of cells, tissue, or fluid from your body for evaluation under a microscope and confirm a cancer diagnosis
The results of your tests and procedures will help our specialists make an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. In some cases, the diagnostic imaging exam reveals a tumor, and the immediate next step is surgery to remove it. The biopsy results to confirm or rule out cancer come after the surgery.
From our state-of-the-art Mercy Cancer Center to multiple accreditations and awards, the team at Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento offers the professional level of care you need to address cancer symptoms head on.
Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento provides comprehensive care, through diagnosis and treatment, of cancer signs and symptoms in the Sacramento region.
Connect with a Clinical Expert
Scheduling regular checkups and health screenings with your primary care doctor can help prevent or detect early stages of cancer. Don’t have a doctor? We can help. Use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a primary care physician near you.