Signs and symptoms of cancer
All of these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions or even nothing of consequence. Although non-cancerous illnesses and problems are most probably the cause, it is important you take your symptoms seriously – see your GP so they can investigate.
There is nothing stoic about ignoring symptoms – ignoring symptoms is all too often the cowards way of avoiding the truth and failure to have symptoms checked out can lead to your death!
Other potential signs and symptoms of cancer are outlined below.
Lump in your breast
See your GP if you notice a lump in your breast, or if you have a lump that is rapidly increasing in size elsewhere on your body.
Your GP will refer you to a specialist for tests if they think you may have cancer.
Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
You should visit your GP if you have had a cough for more than three weeks.
Symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may be a sign of an acute (severe) condition, such as pneumonia (a lung infection). Go to see your GP straight away if you experience these types of symptoms.
Changes in bowel habits
Go to see your GP if you have experienced one of the changes listed below and it has lasted for more than a few weeks:
- blood in your stools
- diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
- a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
- pain in your abdomen (tummy) or your anus (back passage)
- persistent bloating
You should also go to see your GP if you have any unexplained bleeding such as:
- blood in your urine
- bleeding between periods
- blood from your back passage
- blood when you cough
- blood in your vomit
Go to see your GP if you have a mole that:
- has an irregular or asymmetrical shape
- has an irregular border with jagged edges
- has more than one colour (it may be flecked with brown, black, red, pink or white)
- is bigger then 7mm in diameter
- is itchy, crusting or bleeding
Any of the above changes means that there is a chance you have malignant melanoma (skin cancer).
Unexplained weight loss
You should also go to see your GP if you have lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that cannot be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.
The following links have more useful information about cancer.
Macmillan: signs and symptoms of cancer
Cancer Research UK: cancer signs and symptoms
Here is a brief summary of the commonest of cancers and some of the more obvious symptoms:
- Bladder cancer – pain in abdomen, blood in urine intermittent or constant, blood may be visible by colour (frank haematuria) or only detectable by testing at your GP’s, intermittent burning when urinating, repeated bladder infections.
- Bone cancer – pain, swelling, fractures, weight loss, nausea, weakness.
- Brain cancer – headaches, dizzines, vision and memory problems, fatigue, weight loss, nausea.
- Breast cancer – lumps in the breast, swollen lymph nodes, discharge from the nipple, a change in the size or shape of a breast, dimpling of the skin on the breast, a thickening in the breast tissue, a nipple becoming inverted (turned in), a lump or thickening behind the nipple, a rash (like eczema) affecting the nipple, a swelling or lump in the armpit, blood in discharge from the nipple.
- Colorectal cancer – blood in stools, loss of appetite, fatigue, dark or bright red blood in or on your stools, a change in your normal bowel habit, such as diarrhoea or constipation, for no obvious reason that lasts for longer than six weeks, unexplained weight loss, pain in the tummy (abdomen) or back passage, a feeling of not having emptied your bowel properly after a bowel motion, general discomfort, such as gas, bloating or cramps, in the tummy (abdomen).
- Kidney cancer – blood in urine either constant or intermittent visible (frank haematuria or only detectable by GP test, back pain, feelings of lethargy.
- Leukemia – paleness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, pain in bones, swollen lymph nodes, night sweats.
- Liver cancer – .
- Lung cancer – persistent cough, wheezzing, pain in the chest, blood in the sputum, enlarge lymph nodes.
- Melanoma – bumps in the skin, changes in the mole, easy bleeding.
- Non-Hodgkings lymphoma – swelling in the lymph nodes, neck, groin, under arm, fatigue, fever, weight loss, bone pain.
- Oral cancer – any lump in the mouth, pain, bleeding, ulcers.
- Ovarian cancer – abdominal pain, swelling, vaginal bleeding, loss of appetite, feeling sick (nausea), excessive gas (wind), a bloated, full feeling, unexplained weight gain, swelling in the abdomen (this may be due to a build up of fluid (ascites), which can also cause shortness of breath), pain in the lower abdomen, changes in bowel or bladder habits, such as constipation, diarrhoea or needing to pass urine more often than usual, lower back pain, pain during sex.
- Pancreatic cancer – abdominal swelling, pain, weight loss, back pain, yellowish skin color.
- Prostate cancer – back pain, pain in the pelvis, frequent urinating, difficulty in starting to pass urine, difficulty urinating, pain, blood in urine, a poor or weak flow of urine, urgently needing to pass water, passing urine more frequently than usual, especially at night, blood in the urine, although this is uncommon.
Do not be too concerned initially as many of these symptoms may well be nothing more than symptoms of an enlarged prostate (common in men over 50), but do NOT ignore the symptoms, have them checked as prostate cancer is one of the commonest killers of men.
- Stomach cancer – vomiting blood or blood in the stool, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite.
- Uterine cancer – pain in the pelvic area, bleeding, painful urination, pain during intercourse.
Rather less easily defined or tested for is an early symptom of cancer that has recently been established and that is an inexplicable bout of depression which occurs some time before specific symptoms become apparent – often as long as 2 years before the cancer itself presents symptoms.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings.
Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar.
You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help in ANY way. .
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins