Cancer signs: Myalgia could affect the whole body

Ashley Cain and Safiyya discuss early signs of leukaemia

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Ideally, cancer should be caught out in the initial stages when it is still localised and hasn’t spread to nearby tissue. One factor that often prevents this, however, is a lack of symptoms at the beginning of the disease. As the tumour grows, people may start to experience dull or aching pain in several parts of the body. This could be an indication that cancer has started to invade the bones.

Cancer.Net explains: “Muscle aches are a possible side effect of cancer and cancer treatment.

“Another term for muscle aches is myalgia. Muscle aches can occur on their own or they can be associated with other symptoms, like muscle weakness, cramps or depression.

“[They] may affect a specific area in the body or affect the whole body. The muscle aches may be mild, severe or somewhere in between.”

The body adds that leaving these aches and pain untreated could potentially affect a person’s quality of life, particularly as it may make other side effects of the disease seem worse.

Cancers which are more likely to make your muscles ache are ones that start in the muscle or soft-tissue sarcoma.

Sometimes aching may simply result from a tumour pressing against a muscle.

Alternatively, cancer can provoke muscle pain when it produces too many white blood cells, which is the case with some types of leukaemia.

If the pain becomes chronic, it may be an indication of changes in the nerves, either due to the disease pressing against them or due to chemical changes in the body.

Pain is one of the ill-defined symptoms of cancer, partly because discomfort can manifest in several different ways.

Aching specifically, could signal that “cancer can spread into the bone and cause pain by damaging the bone tissue”, notes Cancer Research UK.

It adds: “Cancer can affect one specific area of bone or several areas. You might also hear bone pain called somatic pain.

“People often describe this type of pain as aching, dull or throbbing.”

How to prevent cancer

Not all cancers can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, and limiting alcohol intake to abate the disease.

Suppressing inflammation will boost the body’s resilience against disease, and adherence to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables could help achieve this.

In fact, there is evidence that diets filled with a large variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other plant foods help lower the risk of cancer.

The American Institute for Cancer Research says: “In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects.”

The body adds that many people grow up eating foods that are okay for their health but aren’t necessarily the most beneficial.

It continues: “As you build your meal plans, make sure you’re not overdoing it with foods that are best to have in small portions.”

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