Cancer is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. While it is important to get regular check-ups through cancer-related screenings, it’s just as important to listen to your body and notice anything that’s different, odd, or inexpiable. Here are 15 cancer symptoms you should be aware of.

15 Cancer Symptoms You Should Know About

1. Changes in Your Skin

Notice a new spot on your skin that changes size, shape or colour? That could be a sign of cancer. Another is a spot that looks different to all the others on your body. If you see any of these unusual marks on your body, have your doctor check your skin.

2. Persistent Cough

For non-smokers, there’s a very little chance that a nagging cough is a sign of cancer. Usually, it’s caused by postnasal drip, asthma, acid re-flux or an infection. If the cough persists or blood is coughed up, go to see your doctor. They may test mucus from the lungs or use a chest x-ray to check for lung cancer.

3. Breast Changes

For the most part, a change in the breasts does not indicate cancer. That being said it’s still important to tell your doctor about them and that he or she checks them out. Make sure the doctor is aware of any lumps or abnormalities such as nipple discharge, redness, or pain. They will perform and may suggest a mammogram, MRI or biopsy.

4. Bloating

Feeling bloated is quite common in women of all ages and could be brought on by diet or even stress. If the bloated feeling persists or if you experience different symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, or back pain, have it checked out by the doctor. This case of constant bloating in women can be a sign of ovarian cancer.

5. Toilet Problems

Urinary issues are quite common as men get older, such as the need to go more often, leaks, or a weak stream. More often than not this is caused by an enlarged prostate, but could also be an indication of prostate cancer. A special blood test called a PSA test can determine some of the factors at play when dealing with prostate cancer.

6. Swollen Lymph Nodes

Everybody has small, bean-shaped glands in their neck, armpits and other places in the body. When they are swollen, if often means you’re fighting a cold or flu-like infection. However, some cancers like lymphoma and leukaemia can also cause this type of swelling. It would be a good idea to talk to your doctor to pinpoint the cause.

7. Blood When You Use the Bathroom

If you see blood in the toilet after you use it, it would be a good time to go see the doctor for sure. Bloody stool is usually caused by inflamed veins called haemorrhoids, and they are about as nasty as they sound. There is a chance that bloody stool is a sign of bowel cancer. Blood in urine is likely a urinary tract infection but could be a sign of kidney or bladder cancer.

8. Testicle Changes

Should you notice any form of a lump or swelling in your testicles, you need to see your doctor immediately. A painless lump is the most common sign of testicular cancer. Your doctor will do a physical exam of the area and may use an ultrasound scan to see if there is a tumour or another problem.

9. Trouble Swallowing

Many ailments can cause trouble swallowing every once in a while, such as the common cold or acid reflux. Trouble swallowing can be a sign of cancer in your throat or the pipe between your mouth and stomach, called the oesophagus. Your doctor will do an exam and some tests like a barium X-ray, in which you swallow a chalky fluid to show your throat more clearly on the image.

10. Unusual Vaginal Bleeding

When women bleed separate from their usual period, it can have many causes such as fibroids or even some types of birth control. It is important to tell your doctor if you are bleeding between periods, after sex, or have bloody discharge. It might be an indication of uterus, vaginal or cervix cancer symptoms. Also, be sure to let your doctor know if you are bleeding after menopause. That’s not normal and should be checked out right away.

11. Mouth Issues

Most changes in your mouth are not serious. But there are a few that are, like if you have white/red patches or sores in your mouth that don’t heal after a couple of weeks (especially if you smoke) go see your doctor. These issues could be a sign of oral cancer. Other things to look for are a lump in your cheek, trouble moving your jaw or mouth pain.

12. Weight Loss

Slimming down due to a change in diet or exercise is of course completely normal. It can also happen due to stress or other underlying issues. However, if you lose a significant amount of weight (10lbs/5kg) without any visible effort or lifestyle change, this is cause for concern. Go see your doctor, there’s a chance it could be the first sign of pancreas, stomach, oesophagus, or lung cancer.

13. Fever

A fever isn’t usually a bad thing. Sometimes it’s just a sign that your body is fighting an infection. It can also be a side effect of some medicines. But one that won’t go away and doesn’t have an obvious cause could be a sign of a blood cancer like leukaemia or lymphoma.

14. Heartburn or Indigestion

An awful lot of people suffer from the odd case of heartburn or indigestion. It’s often tied to their diet or stress. If you shake up your lifestyle and indigestion or heartburn doesn’t stop, your doctor may want to do some tests to look for a cause. They could be the first of stomach cancer symptoms.

15. Fatigue

Obviously, people get tired on a regular basis and usually it isn’t a cause for concern. However, some colon and stomach cancers can cause blood loss that you can’t see. This can make you feel very tired. If you’re wiped out all the time and rest doesn’t help, talk to your doctor.

Do you have worrying signs and symptoms associated with cancer? LetsGetChecked offer a range of Cancer Screening options.

Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director, Dr. Dominic Rowley