Treatment & Support

Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer


It may be known as the “silent killer”, but cancer often comes with symptoms and warning signs. Keep a lookout for them and you could increase your chances of beating the disease.

  • Sores that refuse to heal
    Sores on any part of the body which are difficult to heal, such as sores on the skin, vagina, or oral cavity, should be dealt with promptly and should not be overlooked.
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
    Any unusual bleeding from any orifice of the body may be a sign and symptom of cancer. Blood in the phlegm could be a sign of lung cancer. Blood in the stool (or a dark or black stool) could be a sign of colorectal cancer. Abnormal vaginal bleeding could indicate uterine, ovarian or cervical cancer. A bloody discharge from the nipple may be a sign of breast cancer.
  • Thickening of lump in the breast or on other parts of the body
    Many cancers can be felt through the skin, particularly in the breasts, testicles, lymph nodes, and the soft tissues of the body. A lump or thickening may be an early or late sign of cancer and should be reported to a doctor, especially if you have just discovered it or noticed that it has grown in size.
    You may be feeling a lump that is at an early stage of cancer that may be treated successfully. Any lump or thickening on any part of the body should be reported to your doctor as this could be an early or late sign of cancer.
  • Change in bowel habits or bladder function
    Chronic constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the size of your stool may indicate colon cancer. Pain with urination, blood in urine, or a change in bladder function (such as more frequent or less frequent urination) may be related to bladder or prostate cancer. Any changes in bladder or bowel function should be reported to your doctor.
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness
    A persistent cough may be a sign of lung cancer. Persistent hoarseness could be a sign of cancer of the larynx (voice box) or thyroid.
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
    While they commonly have other causes, these symptoms may indicate cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, or pharynx (throat).
  • Recent changes in a wart or mole
    Any change in the colour, shape, size or loss of definite borders of a wart or mole should be reported to your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of melanoma which, if diagnosed early, may be treated successfully.
  • Unexplained weight loss or fever
    An unexplained weight loss of about 5kg may be the first sign of cancer, particularly cancers of the pancreas, stomach, oesophagus, or lung.
    Fever is generally seen at an advanced stage of the disease. When cancer has spread from its point of origin to other parts of the body, almost all patients with cancer will experience fever at some stage, particularly if the cancer or its treatment affects the immune system and reduces resistance to infection.
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