Cancer can cause many different symptoms, some subtle and some not noticeable at all. (See also Overview of Cancer and Symptoms.)
Some symptoms are present in the early stages of cancer development, such as a painless lump in the mammary gland, which is an important warning sign that should be examined by a doctor. Other symptoms, such as weight loss and fever, occur only after the tumor has developed. Other symptoms, such as changes in the shape of the stool, blood in the stool, and difficulty swallowing, can be signs of cancer in some parts of the body.
Early detection of cancer is important in the treatment of cancer because when the cancer is in an advanced stage, it is more likely to be cured. Some symptoms may be the first signs of cancer, so a person needs to seek medical attention. Fortunately, most of these symptoms are usually caused by less serious conditions. However, the development of cancer symptoms should not be ignored.
Some warning signs are common. In other words, these are non-specific changes that do not help identify a specific cancer. However, their presence helps doctors perform physical examinations and laboratory tests necessary to rule out or confirm a diagnosis. Other symptoms are more specific and point doctors to a specific type or location of cancer.
Possible symptoms of cancer include:
Unexplained weight loss
Loss of appetite
New and constant pain
Vision or hearing problems
Frequent nausea and vomiting
Blood in the urine
Blood in the stool (visible or determined by special tests)
Recent changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea)
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause
Moles change in size and color, skin wounds do not heal
A growth or mark on the skin that enlarges or changes in appearance.
An incurable disease
Enlarged lymph nodes