Symptoms are things other people may see, such as fever, vomiting, and rapid breathing. Symptoms are felt only by the sick person. For example, symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and pain appear. (1)
You may experience both signs and symptoms of cancer, which are signs that something is wrong with your body. Recognizing these indicators can lead to an earlier diagnosis and possibly a better prognosis.
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How does cancer cause signs and symptoms?
As the cancer grows, it pushes on nearby organs, nerves, and blood vessels, causing signs and symptoms. Even the smallest tumors can cause symptoms in some organs, such as the brain.
If your cancer has spread, known as metastases, you may notice signs and symptoms in different parts of your body.
Another reason you may have symptoms is because the cancer cells are using up a lot of your body’s energy supply. They also change your immune system. (1)
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Some of the most common signs and symptoms of cancer
Although each case is different, some general symptoms of cancer include:
Weight Loss Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more can be one of the first signs of cancer. Weight loss is common in people with pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, or lung cancer, but it can occur with any type of cancer. (1,2)
Fever Fever is common when cancer has metastasized. Night sweats often accompany fever. Almost everyone with cancer has a fever at some point. (1,2)
Fatigue Being very tired can be a symptom of cancer in your body. (1,2)
Lumps Lumps or thickening of the skin can be early or late signs of cancer. People with tumors often cluster in the breast, lymph nodes, soft tissue, or testicles. (1,2)
Skin changes Yellowing, darkening, and redness of the skin are signs of cancer. Also, non-healing wounds should be examined. Additionally, moles, freckles, and spots that change in color, shape, or size can be signs of skin cancer. (1,2)
Pain In most cases, pain occurs because the tumor has spread throughout your body. But pain can be the first symptom of bone cancer or testicular cancer. Back pain is common in people with colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, or ovarian cancer. People with brain tumors complain that their headaches do not go away. (1,2)
Changes in bowel and bladder function Constipation, diarrhea, and other bowel problems can be symptoms of colon cancer. People with bladder cancer or prostate cancer may experience pain when urinating, blood in the urine, or other changes in bladder function. (1,2)