There is still so much we don't know about the human body. So when Reddit user TrojanZebra asked cancer survivors, "What was the first sign that made you go to the doctor?" it felt like such an important reminder to pay attention to your body.
1. "My cat has always liked to lay on me and 'knead' part of my body with her paws. For about six months, she started to focus on one spot on my chest. Then I felt a small lump in that spot. Eventually, I got tested and had a pretty giant tumor in that spot."
2. "I had super-heavy periods that would last for 10 or more days. I got an IUD to help control bleeding, but actually hemorrhaged so bad the IUD came out. Endometrial cancer, huge tumor in my uterus."
3. "My head and neck area became very swollen. At first I thought I was just getting fat, so I worked out a lot and ate better. This did not help. The thing that finally made me go to the emergency room is that I started to develop unexplained bruises on my chest. Turned out, I had a huge tumor in my chest, which had grown around my heart and was compressing the superior vena cava so blood couldn’t flow back down from my head."
4. "I was 17, getting ready for spring break back in 2010. Literally in seconds, there's this big translucent blind spot in my eye that's orange. I can see dark shapes behind it, but it's super blurry. I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia."
5. "This dry patch of skin on my forehead wouldn't stop scabbing and then bleeding. I decided that was because I couldn't stop picking it. I finally got sick of worrying about it and went and got diagnosed. Basal cell carcinoma."
6. "My self-diagnosed IBS was actually a tumor, and it hemorrhaged. Stage IV rectal cancer."
7. "My brother was 11 when he started experiencing symptoms. He started losing a lot of weight, and when he was playing soccer it looked like he was running through mud. We took him to the emergency room, and they found a brain tumor. He had emergency brain surgery the next day."
8. "My father always had allergies. But the severity of his runny nose reached a point where he went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was going on. Turns out, it was a CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leakage. The doctor told us she found something near his pituitary gland. When those results came back, we found out he had chordoma, a type of bone cancer."
9. "I was about 12 when I noticed a gray spot in my left eye, so I went to the eye doctor. It turned out to be retinoblastoma."
10. "My dad had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It started as a tickle in his throat. Then he lost his voice. There was a huge tumor putting pressure on his vocal cords, which caused him to have difficulty swallowing."
11. "This might sound really strange, but I felt high all the time, like I was detached from reality. I went in, found a tumor: Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the same time."
12. "I was 4. I didn’t want to be a bother to anyone, so I tried to hide the pain in my leg. My pre-K teacher noticed I was limping and told my parents about it. I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had my left leg amputated through the knee."
13. "My dad went to the ER after a big bump had formed on his neck overnight. He was prescribed severe rash medication but went back after nothing worked. They found he had Hodgkin's lymphoma and a 6-inch mass in his chest."
15. "I had a friend who pulled her back while camping. She dealt with it for a month and finally, after Thanksgiving, decided to go to the doctor to see if they could help. Pancreatic cancer."
16. "I had a persistent pain in the middle of my sternum. Doctors thought it was costochondritis [inflammation of cartilage in the rib cage]. I stopped working out and lifting heavy things for three months, but it didn't go away. Eventually, I started having night sweats and random aches. After I fractured my hip, I got an MRI and biopsy, and they diagnosed me with stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."
17. "My 33-year-old husband was diagnosed with inoperable glioblastoma (most aggressive brain cancer). He got checked after having persistent headaches that wouldn't go away. We discovered the tumors after taking an MRI."
18. "Testicular cancer survivor here. I had a dull pain one day in my right testicle but didn't think much of it. I then took a shower, and my ball felt different. It wasn't smooth."
Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.