Symptoms of Cancer
Different Symptoms of CancerThe symptoms of cancer depend on the type of cancer, its location, the size of the tumor, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues. If a cancer has metastasized, symptoms may appear in different parts of the body. READ MORE
Some cancers may be asymptomatic (have no symptoms at all) or be asymptomatic until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Pancreatic cancer, for example, may not cause symptoms until the cancerous cells have grown around nearby nerves, causing backache, or around the bile duct, creating jaundice. At that point the cancer is quite advanced. LESS
General SymptomsThe following symptoms can occur with most cancers:
- Fever is very common, but occurs most often when cancer has metastasized. It can sometimes be an early symptom of blood cancer (eg, leukemia or lymphoma).
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest) may be an important symptom as cancer grows. It may happen early, though, in cancers like leukemia, or if the cancer is causing blood loss, which can happen with some colon or stomach cancers.
- Malaise (vague feeling of bodily discomfort)
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first symptom of cancer.
- Loss of appetite
- Pain generally occurs when cancer has metastasized, but may be an early symptom of bone or testicular cancer. Headache may be a symptom of brain cancer. Back pain can be a symptom of colorectal or ovarian cancer. Cancer is painful because it invades tissues and compresses the nerves.
Specific SymptomsThe following symptoms are the ones most commonly seen with different forms of cancer:
- Change in bowel habits or bladder function, including long-term constipation, diarrhea, or bloody or narrowed stools may be symptoms of colorectal cancer. Change in bladder habits, pain when urinating, or passing blood may be symptoms of bladder or prostate cancer.
- Sores that do not heal, on the skin, in the mouth, or on the genital organs may be symptoms of skin or oral cancer.
- White patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue may be precancerous lesions called leukoplakia, often caused by tobacco use. Leukoplakia can develop into oral cancer.
- Unusual bleeding or discharge can occur in either early or advanced cancer. Bloody sputum can be a symptom of lung cancer, unusual vaginal bleeding can be a sign of cervical cancer, and bloody discharge from the breast can indicate breast cancer.
- Thickening or lump can be an early or late symptom of cancer of the breast, testicle, lymph nodes, and soft tissues of the body.
- Indigestion or trouble swallowing can be symptoms of cancer of the esophagus, throat, or stomach.
- Change in the appearance of a wart, mole, or freckle or any new skin change may be melanoma (skin cancer).
- Nagging cough or hoarseness can be symptoms of lung cancer or cancer of the larynx or thyroid.