Cancer is a life-threatening disease involving cells in the body growing and reproducing uncontrollably. As cancer cells grow they destroy healthy tissue and organs and can spread to other parts of the body. While there are more than 200 different types of cancer which have been recorded, the four most common in the UK are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. Every cancer has its own specific set of symptoms there are some more general ones to note.

Some possible signs of cancer, like a lump, are better known than others.

But here are six less well-known possible cancer signs, according to Cancer Research UK.


While it’s not unusual to feel out of breath every now and then, the cancer charity warns: “If you notice that you’re feeling breathless more than usual or for a lot of the time, tell your doctor.”

Unexplained vaginal bleeding

A side effect of the contraceptive pill is bleeding or ‘spotting’ between periods.

However, it advises: “Still see your doctor if you need from the vagina between periods, or after sex or after the menopause.”

Very heavy night sweats

Sweating at night an be caused by infections or it can be a side of certain medications, it explains. It’s also experienced by women around the time of the menopause.

But it adds: “But very heavy, drenching night sweats can also be a sign of cancer and should be checked out by your doctor.”

Croaky voice or hoarseness

This is a common symptom of a cold, but it says: “A croaky voice that hasn’t gone away on its own should be checked out by your doctor.”

Persistent heartburn or indigestion

Heartburn and indigestion is normal, particular after a large, fatty or spicy meal.

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But it warns: “If you have heartburn or indigestion a lot, or if it is particularly painful, then you should see your doctor.”

Mouth or tongue ulcer that won’t heal

These can be common if you feel a bit run down, and because the lining of the mouth renews itself every two weeks, it should take this time for an ulcer to heal.

But it adds: “If an ulcer that doesn’t heal after three weeks should be reported to your doctor or dentist.”

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, and there are eight symptoms specific to this cancer to watch out for.

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