Signs and Symptoms

Cancer Signs and Symptoms

With so many different types of cancers, the symptoms are varied and depend on
where the disease is located. However, there are some key signs and symptoms to
look out for, including:

  • Unusual lumps or swelling

    cancerous lumps are often painless and may increase in size as the cancer progresses

  • Coughing, breathlessness or difficulty swallowing

    be aware of persistent coughing episodes, breathlessness or difficulty swallowing

  • Changes in bowel habit

    such as constipation and diarrhoea and/or blood found in the stools

  • Unexpected bleeding

    includes bleeding from the vagina, anal passage, or blood found in stools, in urine or when coughing

  • Unexplained weight loss

    a large amount of unexplained and unintentional weight loss over a short period of time (a couple of months)

  • Fatigue

    which shows itself as extreme tiredness and a severe lack of energy. If fatigue is due to cancer, individuals normally also have other symptoms

  • Pain or ache

    includes unexplained or ongoing pain, or pain that comes and goes

  • New mole or changes to a mole

    look for changes in size, shape, or colour and if it becomes crusty or bleeds or oozes

  • Complications with urinating

    includes needing to urinate urgently, more frequently, or being unable to go when you need to or experiencing pain while urinating

  • Unusual breast changes

    look for changes in size, shape or feel, skin changes and pain

  • Appetite loss

    feeling less hungry than usual for a prolonged period of time

  • A sore or ulcer that won’t heal

    including a spot, sore wound or mouth ulcer

  • Heartburn or indigestion

    persistent or painful heartburn or indigestion

  • Heavy night sweats

    be aware of very heavy, drenching night sweats