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Signs & Symptoms of Cancer – How Do You Know If You Have Cancer?

How Do You Know if You Have Cancer?

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

A sign or unusual symptom you have not experienced before could be an indication that something is not right with your body.  Although not all signs or abnormal symptoms mean that you have cancer.

The signs and symptoms as a result of cancer will depend on where the cancer is, the size of any tumor, and how much organs and tissues are affected. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.

As a cancer develops, it can begin to press on nearby organs, blood vessels, and nerves. It is this pressure that causes some of the signs and symptoms of cancer to appear.

What Are Some of The General Signs and Symptoms of Cancer?

In the event that you experience any of the symptoms listed below for a long time or they get progressively worse, please go and see your doctor who can carry out various tests to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Unexplained weight loss

One of the more specific signs of cancer is weight loss. If you start losing weight for no known reason, and you are not dieting then it is time to be concerned.  Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more in a short period of time, say 1-2 weeks, may be the first sign of cancer.  This symptom usually occurs in cancers of the kidney, pancreas, stomach, lungs or esophagus.


Having a fever or night sweats is a common symptom with cancer.  It usually occurs when the cancer has spread from where it started from.  Most patients with cancer will experience fever at some time or other.  In a few cases fever may be an early sign of cancer, such as blood cancers like leukemia.


Extreme tiredness that does not improve after rest may be a symptom that manifests itself as cancer grows. Fatigue usually occurs later on as the cancer develops, but in some cancers such as leukemiait may happen early. In some cancers such as colon, kidney or stomach there may be blood loss, which is another way cancer can cause  fatigue.


Pain is another early symptom seen in cancers like bone or testicular cancer. Also, a headache that does not go away or get better with medication may be a symptom of a brain tumor, back pain may be a symptom of bowel, bone or ovarian cancer.  However, any pain due to cancer usually means that the cancer has spread (metastasized)  from where it started.

Skin changes

As well as skin cancer, there are some other cancers, such as breast cancer that causes skin changes.  These changes may appear as:

  • Darker looking skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Reddened skin (erythema)
  • Itching (pruritis)
  • Excessive hair growth


Further Reading On Cancer:

What Happens After They Tell You ‘You Have Breast Cancer?
The 4 Stages of Breast Cancer Explained In Detail


How Did You Feel When They Said ‘You Have Cancer?’

Do you remember the day and time you were told you had cancer? In this blog I want to share stories of that fateful day and help those who have just been diagnosed on how to deal with the news and what happens next.

How Did You Feel When They Said ‘You Have Cancer’ ?.