Common Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
Cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Possible signs and symptoms of
- A thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body
- An obvious change in a wart or mole
- A sore that does not heal
- A nagging cough or hoarseness
- Changes in bowels or bladder habits
- Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained changes in weight
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
When these or other symptoms occur, they are not always caused by cancer.
They can also be caused by infections, benign tumors or other problems.
It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms or about other
physical changes. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis. A person with these
or other symptoms should not wait to feel pain; early cancer does not
usually cause pain.
If symptoms occur, a doctor may order various tests and may recommend a
biopsy. A biopsy is usually the most reliable way to know whether a medical
problem is cancer. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a sample of tissue
from the abnormal area. A pathologist studies the tissue under a microscope
to check for cancer cells.