Common signs and symptoms of cancer
Regardless of your age or health, it’s good to know the symptoms of cancer. They are not enough to diagnose the disease by themselves. But they can be clues for you and your doctor so you can find and treat the problem as soon as possible. Treatment works best when the tumor is small and has not spread.
These symptoms do not always mean cancer. Many common situations can make you feel this way. It is important to see your doctor for a thorough examination of your health and to take action.
Common symptoms of cancer in men and women include:
Pain. Bone cancer is often painful from the beginning. Some brain tumors can cause headaches that last for days and do not go away with treatment. Pain can be a late symptom of cancer, so if you don’t know why it’s happening or doesn’t go away, see your doctor.
Lose weight without training. Almost half of people with cancer lose weight. This is usually one of the first signs they notice.
Fatigue. Tell your doctor if you feel tired all the time and rest doesn’t help. Cancer of the blood makes you tired all the time, otherwise you may bleed with cancer of the colon and stomach. Cancer-related weight loss can also make you tired.
Fever. If it is high or lasts more than 3 days, see a doctor. Some blood cancers, such as lymphoma, can cause a fever for days or weeks.
Changes in your skin. Look for unusual or new moles, bumps, or marks on your body to check for hidden skin cancer. Your skin can also provide information about other types of cancer. If it darkens, appears yellow or red, the hair is itchy, ingrown, or has an unexplained rash, it may be a sign of liver, ovarian, kidney cancer, or lymphoma.
Wounds that do not heal. Spots that bleed and do not go away are signs of skin cancer. Oral cancer starts as sores in the mouth. If you smoke, chew tobacco, or drink a lot of alcohol, your risk is higher.
Cough or hoarseness does not go away. Coughing is one symptom of lung cancer, and hoarseness can mean a tumor in your throat (pharynx) or thyroid cancer.
Unusual bleeding. Cancer can show blood where it shouldn’t be. Blood in your stool is a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Tumors along the urinary tract can also cause blood in the urine.