Connect with us

Law & Regulation

People Are Sharing The Warning Sign That Made Them Seek Out A Doctor And — Ultimately — Saved Their Lives

It can be tough (especially for Americans, what with the state of private health insurance) to know when to go to the doctor for a health issue. And even…



It can be tough (especially for Americans, what with the state of private health insurance) to know when to go to the doctor for a health issue. And even when you DO go, some doctors will downplay patients’ symptoms because of their gender, race, body weight, and other factors.

Doctor from Grey’s Anatomy holding up a small flashlight during an exam


So when redditor u/robocup asked the r/AskReddit community, “People who were diagnosed with cancer, what was the thing that made you say, ‘I have to go get this checked out?'” people were quick to share the warning signs that led them to get their diagnosis — so that others could watch out for the same things. Here are some of the most upvoted stories:

1.“My toddler son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma a few months ago. My wife saw a white spot when looking into his eyes as he was running toward her. Turns out, she literally saw the tumor. We noticed it in the baby monitor as well. One eye appeared white and one eye appeared black.”

“We had an eye exam today, after four months of appointments, and we received the news that the tumor appears to be dead, we can cancel his next chemo appointment, and proceed with monthly eye exams to confirm there are no active living cancer cells in his eye.”


2.“My friend with benefits noticed that a mole on my back had really changed in the two or three months since we’d seen each other. Got it checked out, and sure enough, melanoma. Now I have a massive, lightning bolt–shaped scar on my back from the 7.5 square inches of skin they took off of me.”


A mole on a person's backA mole on a person's back

Andrey Maximenko / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3.“I had severe back pain for about three months. I went to a walk-in clinic like seven times over that period, and each time the doctor told me I had a pulled muscle or I was dehydrated. In retrospect, he probably thought I was faking it to get out of school because I was ‘young and healthy’…”

“After a while of it not getting better, I went to the ER, and lo and behold, I had stage 4 cancer. The main tumor was about 16.73 centimeters wide and started inside my kidney. All that pain was it literally tearing my kidney apart from the inside out. I’ve been in remission for two years. So far, no signs of the cancer returning.”


4.“Jumped down from a 5-foot height; I’d done the same thing hundreds of times before. Felt my back go but thought nothing of it. This back issue never went away; after one month I decided to visit my GP. Fast-forward four months of continuing to work, visiting doctors because the back pain hadn’t gone away, and being sent for things like physio, and doctors finally book me for a scan. Forty-eight hours after the scan, I was called urgently into the ER and placed on a spinal board with a fractured spine; in the fracture was the tumor.”

“I was told the cancer had weakened my bones, which resulted in the fracture. Basically, fracturing my back saved my life. I’d never have known otherwise, as I had previously not felt ill or anything.”


5.“Overwhelming fatigue, and I kept losing my voice and had to talk in a whisper. That and my dog kept sniffing my neck. Didn’t know I had a tumor in my neck that was wrapped around the nerves controlling my vocal cords.”


Close-up of dog's noseClose-up of dog's nose

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

6.“An ER radiologist saw a lump on my kidney when I was there for gallstones. Three doctors told me it was fat, based on my age and obesity. My wife insisted on the biopsy, and it was stage 1 cancer. I’m clear seven years and counting.”


7.“When my mother was around 30, she felt that something was wrong in her abdomen. According to her, there was a part somewhere in her left abdomen that didn’t feel like it should be there. She said that sometimes she could feel it by pressing down in her abdomen. For the next 20-odd years, every time she visited a doctor, she would ask about it. They would poke and prod and tell her, ‘Oh, it’s normal, that’s your intestine, might just be your kidney moving slightly lower,’ yada yada. Until one time, about five years ago…”

“She went for a checkup and again raised the issue. The doctor poked and pressed and said, ‘I don’t feel anything.’ He then asked her to lie on her side and pressed again. Lo and behold, there it was, something that wasn’t supposed to be there. They sent her for imaging and stuff and found a tumor the size of a tennis ball on her ovary.

“When they took it out, they asked my mother to sign a form donating the tumor for research because it was one of the biggest, oldest tumors that had not progressed to stage 2 they had ever seen. Yes, a 20-plus-year-old cancerous tumor in my mom stayed as a tumor and never went anywhere else.

“What I want to say is, it’s your body, and you know it best. If something feels wrong, insist on a checkup. You never know what you might find.”


8.“After I was born, my grandparents had three grandchildren total: me, my older brother, and our cousin, who is my age. My mom told me that when we play-wrestled with Grandpa (her dad), he would bruise really easily. They got it checked out, and that was when my grandpa was diagnosed with leukemia. We caught it early, so my mom told us we may have saved Grandpa’s life as babies. He lived another 12 years before passing.”


9.“Fondling my girlfriend’s breasts. Found a lump. She felt it too and was concerned, so she went to the doctor.”


Woman giving herself a breast examWoman giving herself a breast exam

Fg Trade / Getty Images

10.“I could only pee a small amount at a time, and it was painful. Quite honestly, it was embarrassing. I was worried it was an STI and ignored it. But I later passed out at work because the pain got so bad. Was rushed to the hospital. One exploratory surgery later, stage 2 bladder cancer.”


11.“I took some psychedelics one weekend night with my friend in college, had a seizure and blacked out, and woke up in the hospital. I had no idea what was going on, but my whole immediate family was there in the hospital room. They told me they found a ‘mass’ in my skull and I needed to go back to my hometown for an MRI. Of course, it turned out to be a malignant grade 3 astrocytoma. My treatment included six weeks of combination radiation and chemo, followed by 16 months of chemo. This all happened back in 2013, and I’m having my last yearly MRI for it in a couple of weeks. As long as everything still looks good, I’ll never be going back to that oncologist.”


12.“Blood in the toilet. Not just once, but multiple times over a few weeks. My wife made me go see my doctor, who referred me to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. Turns out I had a low-lying colorectal tumor.”

“Nine months of treatments (chemo and radiation) and two major surgeries later, I was declared cancer-free. That was 16 years ago as of this month. I’m grateful my wife made me seek medical attention when she did or I would probably not be here today.”


13.“I was watching an episode of Embarrassing Bodies (a medical show where real doctors provide advice in exchange for being shown on TV), and there was a guy who had found a lump in his scrotum that turned out to be cancer. I was thinking, What an idiot when I realized I had a lump that I had never had checked out by a doctor, and the visit is free in Australia, so I had no excuse not to go. Yep, it was cancerous.”


14.“My baby cousin was pushed down by a bully in class when he was around 7 years old. His FEMUR broke, the toughest bone in the body. Docs found cancer — that bully basically saved my baby cousin’s life.”


X-rays of broken thigh boneX-rays of broken thigh bone

Manx_in_the_world / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15.“I first started getting itching on the sides of my hips at night that I would scratch. Eventually I started scratching the spots raw. A similar thing had happened several years prior, so I didn’t think much of it. Eventually the itching started working its way up my sides and a red rash showed up. I went to the dermatologist every few months for a couple of years before I gave up and decided to live with it. The rash eventually spread almost everywhere except for my face and head, so IDK what the hell I was thinking ignoring it — it was really bad.”

“Eventually I started feeling several lymph nodes in my armpit and on my sides swell up, and a dermatologist was able to piece it together. It was a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma called mycosis fungoides. I ended up getting a stem cell transplant and have been in remission for almost three years.”


16.“Not me, but my sister. She was pregnant and had heavy morning sickness. Nothing unusual, you would say, but she started to lose weight instead of gaining it. She went to get a blood test and suddenly called me with a leukemia diagnosis. Luckily, it was discovered early, so it is treatable with medicine.”


17.“Nothing as dramatic for me. I had a rough spot on my shoulder that felt like pinpricks when rubbed. Doc sent me to a dermatologist, who took a quick look and said it was squamous cell cancer, then spun my head around and pointed out a place on my neck and said, ‘That’s melanoma.’ Regular checkups and all clear 10 years later.”


18.“Had a bunch of bruises. Went to my normal pediatrician for my yearly physical and mentioned it to him. We thought it was probably just from playing soccer and roughhousing, because I felt fine otherwise. He didn’t do blood work. (I think my parents still kind of resent him for that. We’re in a small town, so they are in the same friend group.) A couple of weeks later, I was at school and one of my friends pushed his chair back real hard as I was walking behind him. Just a normal prank. It hurt, but it wasn’t that bad. Woke up the next day with a bruise probably 6 or 7 inches in diameter on my leg. We went back to the pediatrician to get blood work done. My dad had anemia when he was a kid, so we thought it was probably that. Nope. Leukemia.”

“Pretty advanced, too. Apparently the pediatrician left his office to drive to our house and find my parents as soon as he saw the results, because he was worried I was going to have an accident or something and bleed out.

“Funny enough, there was a pretty popular book at the time that a bunch of my friends and I had all recently read. It was about some kid who gets leukemia. One of the symptoms they discuss in the book was that he had a ton of bruises. That book was the only reason I knew that excessive bruising could indicate leukemia. I was joking with my friends at school the day I went in for blood work (telling my friends that I was gonna miss lunch and recess to go back to the doctor). I was like, ‘I probably have cancer LOL.’ Little did I know.

“Been in complete remission for about 14 years now, if I recall correctly. I was pretty lucky.”


A young cancer patient smiling with a medical professionalA young cancer patient smiling with a medical professional

Richlegg / Getty Images

Do you have a similar story you want to share? Let us know in the comments or use this anonymous form if you had a warning sign about your health that you want others to know about! Your story may be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed post or video.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

The post People Are Sharing The Warning Sign That Made Them Seek Out A Doctor And — Ultimately — Saved Their Lives appeared first on REPORT DOOR.

Read More