Two warning signs of cancer that ‘can be worse in the mornings’ – doctor

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Cancer symptoms are often vague and ill-defined, which makes the disease hard to diagnose. 

While it’s easy to brush aside new subtle changes, they could be pointing to the deadly condition.

According to Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, how you feel first thing in the morning could hold clues.

Headaches and coughs that feel “worse in the morning” could be red flags that shouldn’t be ignored.


The doctor explained that brain tumours “characteristically” trigger headaches that are worse in the morning. 

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Dr Lee said: “When you lie flat in bed overnight, cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain as the tumour is blocking its natural circulation. 

“The headache then tends to improve as the day goes on.”

According to a study, published in the journal Neurology, around 77 percent of patients with brain cancer suffer from tension-type headaches.

The NHS explains that the key sign of a tension-type headache is that it’s felt on both sides of your head.

The doctor noted that while you feel it on both sides, the pain can be “worse on the side of the tumour”.

She added: “It’s important to stress that the vast majority of patients with a headache will not have a brain tumour.”

However, it’s crucial to get any new symptoms that are worrying you, checked by a GP, the doctor advised.

Other tell-tale signs of brain tumours may include seizures, feeling and being sick, personality changes, feeling drowsy, memory loss, numbness and weakness on one side of the body, speech difficulty and changes in vision.

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Cough is considered one of the key signs of lung cancer but this symptom can also be worse in the mornings. 

Dr Lee said: “Coughing is a reflex to protect infecting organisms from getting down into the lungs. 

“In lung cancer, the tumour may be partially blocking the airway and trapping mucus overnight. 

“Many lung cancer patients are smokers and typically have a smoker’s cough which is also often more troublesome in the mornings. 

“At night while you sleep, your mouth and upper airways can dry out, becoming irritable.”

While a morning cough doesn’t necessarily guarantee you have the deadly condition, it’s still important to get checked by a doctor.

Dr Lee recommended seeing a GP, especially, if you’ve had a cough for three weeks that won’t go away.

“See your GP straight away if you have any worrying symptoms such as chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, or feeling generally unwell,” she added.

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