And take notice of small, persistent health changes.
When it comes to your health, you’re the expert.
One of the best ways for you to detect cancer early is to “know your normal.” That’s because paying attention to how you feel when you’re at your best will help you notice small changes in your overall health. After all, without something to compare to, you might not realize something is different.
Know Your Great
Cancer can reveal itself in different ways to different people. To be able to recognize changes in your own body, it’s important to know your normal energy level, sleep patterns, pain, weight, bathroom habits, and motor control—as well as what your skin looks like. Being aware and benchmarking your health will help you recognize changes that may be signs of cancer.
And remember, if a persistent change in your normal health lasts 2 weeks or more, your doctor needs to know about it.
To determine what’s normal for you, consider these questions:
- Your typical energy level – Are you a high/low energy person?
- Sleep patterns – Do you need 4, 6, 8 hours or more of sleep to feel rested? Do you sleep through the night?
- Weight – We all go through periods of weight gain and loss from time to time, but what’s your average?
- Motor control and reflexes – Are you always steady on your feet? (this is not about athletic ability)
- Bowel habits – How ‘regular’ are you?
- Skin – Do you have a lot of freckles or moles? Have they changed over time? Do they itch?
- Lump or bumps – Do you have any on your body? Were they always there? Have they changed or grown?
- Pain or discomfort levels – Are you experiencing persistent and unexplained pain or discomfort? For how long?
Do Regular Self-Exams
Regular self-exams will help you get to know what’s normal for you so that you notice changes in your health.
If you think your health may be changing, but you’re not sure…
- Use your phone to take pictures, make notes or use your calendar app to log how you feel each day.
- Track your energy levels, pain levels, stomach issues a possible injury or flu/cold start date in a journal or diary.
- Take a picture of the moles or skin changes with a pencil tip or ruler next to it for a size and shape a point of reference. Record the date and then use it as basis of comparison a few weeks later – has it changed in any way?
Remember you can build awareness of your normal health by:
- Having regular physicals with your doctor to benchmark your health.
- Doing regular self-exams.
- Taking a moment in the morning or at night and think, ‘how do I feel?’
Be the first to know