Health / Cancer

9 Very Common Cancer Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

9 Very Common Cancer Symptoms You Should Never Ignore



  2734      05/10/2014

Early detection is one of the fundamental steps in making cancer curable. So, it is important for you to understand how your body functions and undergo regular check-ups to ensure the risk associated with cancer for you.

The concern is that some of these symptoms are exceptionally common and there is a tendency for people to ignore them. In fact none of them necessarily indicates cancer. However, it is important that you seek a doctor’s help in case any of these symptoms persist beyond 3 weeks.


1.Unexplained Weight Loss

Do not always get happy if you lose weight suddenly. Most cancer patients lose weight at some point in time and excessive & sudden weight loss could be an indication in that direction.

An unexplained weight loss is one where you continue your regular lifestyle including food & exercise habits, however, there is an apparent and sudden loss of weight. If this has happened with you or is happening with you, immediately approach a doctor.


2. Breathlessness

Shortness of breath could be owing to altitude or heavy physical exercise. However, extreme shortness of breath or a persistent cough which seems to have no apparent reason definitely calls for a doctor’s attention.

The breathlessness could indicate bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia or a clot in the lung. Breathlessness while lying down is also important to be evaluated.


3. Cough or hoarseness

A persistent cough or hoarseness could be an indication of the cancer of the larynx. It could also be a symptom of lung cancer or cancer of the oesaphagus. And if you cough up blood, quickly consult a doctor.


4. High or Persistent Fever

While a fever is the most common infection that anyone contracts, it could also signify several other diseases such as tuberculosis, dengue or other infections. However, a persistent fever could also be a symptom of cancer.

Most patients with cancer have fever at some point in time. Certain malignant conditions and the spreading of cancer causes persistent fever. So, if your temperature is at 103 degrees and does not respond to medication, get a test done for cancer.


5. Pain & Fatigue

Fatigue that does not get better by rest is a cause of concern. While this might not be a symptom in the earlier stages, it definitely indicates a later stage symptom.

Pain could be an early symptom for certain cancer such as bone or testicular cancer. A persistent headache that does not respond to medication, rest or other treatments could indicate a brain tumour. Often pain also refers to a cancer that has started spreading.


6. Unexplained change in bladder function or bowel habits

You need to watch out for any of these symptoms which could indicate bowel cancer, colon cancer or bladder or prostate cancer.

   .  Diarrhoea or constipation for no reason 

   .  Blood in stools or urine

   . Change in usual bowel or bladder function (such as the feeling to pass urine more or less or the feeling of not having emptied the bowels even when you have)

   . Change in the colour of the stool (black, bloody or blood-tarred)


7. Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite or feeling full despite having eaten very little could normally mean a certain kind of ulcer. However, in an extreme case, it might be symptom of pancreatic cancer.


8. Skin changes or moles that change shape or size

Melanoma starts with change in the appearance of normal skin. So, any mole, wart or freckle that has not gone and has undergone a change in color definitely needs a look at. Also, skin that has changed in color could imply certain kinds of cancer. So, do watch out for darker looking skin, yellow skin or reddened skin.

As generally known any lumps or growth on the skin especially if it is not painful definitely needs a doctor’s opinion.


9. A bruise or sore that does not heal

Skin cancers are bruises or sores that do not heal. Also, an ulcer or sore in the mouth that does not heal for a long time could mean oral cancer. Sores could also come up on the penis or vagina which needs a doctor consultation.



Dr Shravana Kumar Chinnikatti

Jayant R Maheshwari

Rahul Yadav
New Delhi

Alpesh Kikani


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