01/8Muscle twitches, spasms, or jerking could signal cancer

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body's cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms of cancer are innumerable, however, many of the warning signs are seemingly unrelated to the tumor’s point of origin. Sometimes, a cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body where the nerves are centred, causing muscle twitches, spasms, or jerking. Muscle twitches are caused by involuntary contractions in the area, or uncontrollable twitching of a muscle group that is served by a single motor nerve fiber.

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02/8​Why do muscles twitch?

​Why do muscles twitch?

Symptoms typically occur when the tumor starts pressing on the brain, stopping the normal functioning of part of the organ. A brain tumor can irritate the neurons in the brain, causing muscle contractions, twitching, numbness and tingling, shallow breathing and loss of consciousness.

Tumors that spread to the temporal lobe, frontal lobe, and parietal lobe can cause problems in speech, decision making, problem-solving, concentration, and thinking speed functions. Therefore, it is imperative to address symptoms as they appear. Anyone affected by unusual bodily changes is advised to contact their doctor for further examination.

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03/8Difference between muscle twitch and spasm

Difference between muscle twitch and spasm

Pain that generates around muscles is called as musculoskeletal pain. Twitch and spasm both, are types of musculoskeletal pains. A muscle twitch and a muscle spasm are both involuntary contractions of a muscle, but they are not exactly the same. A muscle twitch is a short contraction that may happen repeatedly. It can cause discomfort and can be slightly painful. A muscle spasm is a more prolonged contraction. It can lead to great pain and even muscular cramps.

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04/8​Cancer affecting spinal cord is dangerous

​Cancer affecting spinal cord is dangerous

If the spinal cord becomes affected, problems may arise in the muscles, such as tightening of the muscular tissues in the leg, ankle and foot. Any type of tumor may occur in the spine, including primary and secondary tumors. Most of the primary tumors are benign and slow growing. Secondary tumors are cancer cells coming from other areas of the body.

Some major cancers that are known to spread to the spinal cord include cancer of the prostate, lung, and breast cancer. Due to their high capability to metastasise, these cancers can easily spread to the tissue inside the spine.

Two types of blood cancer, such as myeloma and leukaemia, have also been known to spread to the backbone. This usually happens when the malignancy originates in the white cells or plasma cells inside the bone marrow.

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05/8What this can lead to

What this can lead to

When cancer spreads to the spine, patients can also experience a loss of consciousness or body tone. This could be followed by sporadic episodes of twitching or relaxing of the muscle or a total loss of control of body functions, such as loss of bladder control.

They can experience back pain that worsens over time, often located in the middle or lower back, and is usually severe and not relieved by pain medicine. This pain gets worse when lying down or straining, and may extend to the hips or legs. Affected people may also experience muscle weakness in the legs that causes falls, makes walking difficult, and may get worse and lead to paralysis.

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06/8​Other warning signs of cancer

​Other warning signs of cancer

Apart from muscle twitches, spasms, or jerking, there are several other signs in the body that could signal cancer. These include loss of appetite, blood in the stool, blood in the urine, cough that doesn’t go away, extreme fatigue, fever that doesn't go away, lump in the neck, night sweats, changes in the skin, swollen lymph nodes, trouble in swallowing and unexplained weight loss. It is advised to consult your doctor if you experience any of the mentioned symptoms.

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07/8Other causes for muscle twitches

Other causes for muscle twitches

While cancer is one of the warning signs of muscle twitches and spasms, they can happen for other reasons as well. These include stress, consumption of too much caffeine, a poor diet, exercise, or as a side effect of some medicines. Many people get twitches in the eyelid, thumb, or calf muscles. These types of twitches usually go away after a few days and are often related to stress or anxiety. It is advised to see a doctor if any muscle spasms occur regularly and are not resolving on their own with rest, hydration, and proper nutrition.

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08/8​What should be your response?

​What should be your response?

Every warning sign related to serious diseases like cancer should not be ignored. If left untreated, these signs may exacerbate the condition to an irreversible stage.

Regular body checkups post 40-50 years of age, seeking constant medical support after the onset of symptoms and observing all the symptoms on a daily basis can be a healthy and alert approach towards treating diseases and pushing their effect to farther.

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