Many cancers are symptomless, so it is important to be aware of any unexplained body changes, such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in the urine, or a change in usual bowel habits.
These symptoms are often caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but it is important to see a GP for an investigation. If cancer is suspected, the patient will be referred to a specialist (oncologist), like The Cancer Centre.
Further tests, such as a biopsy or X-ray, will then be carried out to diagnose the type and stage of cancer.
Here are some warning signs to look out for:
- A lump in the breast that has appeared suddenly and is rapidly increasing
- Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness for more than 3 weeks
- Changes in bowel habits, such as blood in the stool, diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason, a feeling of not having fully emptied the bowels after going to the toilet, pain in the stomach (abdomen) or back passage (anus), or persistent bloating
- Unexplained bleeding, such as blood in the urine, bleeding between periods, bleeding from the bottom, blood when coughing, blood in vomit
- Moles that are irregular or asymmetrical shape, are bigger than 7mm in diameter, are itchy, crusting or bleeding and have more than one colour
- Weight loss that cannot be explained by changes to diet, exercise or stress