Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected. Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer include:
- Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
- Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
- Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won't heal, or changes to existing moles
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
- Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that concern you.
If you don't have any signs or symptoms, but are worried about your risk of cancer, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Ask about which cancer screening tests and procedures are appropriate for you.
Jan. 02, 2014
- Deaths and mortality. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- Cancer: All sites. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- What you need to know about cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/cancer. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- Kushi LH, et al. American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: Reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:30.
- Niederhuber JE, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- Ulcerative colitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colitis/index.htm. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- NINDS paraneoplastic syndromes information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/paraneoplastic/paraneoplastic.htm. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- Deng GE, et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: Complementary therapies and botanicals. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology. 2009;7:85.
- Taking time: Support for people with cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/takingtime. Accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 3, 2013.
- Hypercalcemia. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/hypercalcemia/Patient. Accessed Oct. 11, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.