Cancer symptoms are important to recognise as figures reveal one in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the four most common types of cancer are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. In most cases, a person’s symptoms will not be related to be cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous conditions.
A big problem is many cancer symptoms are being ignored. American Cancer Society explained: “Research has found that many people ignore symptoms or underestimate how serious they are.
“In a study conducted in London, researchers found that less than 60 percent of people who’d experienced symptoms that can be caused by cancer in the previous three months had gone to the doctor about them. And hardly any of them considered cancer as a possible cause.
“The symptoms included unexplained weight loss and change in the appearance of a mole, both of which should be checked out by a doctor right away.
“The researchers say their study makes clear that opportunities for cancer to be diagnosed earlier are being missed.
“And while some symptoms, such as tiredness or coughing, are more likely caused by something other than cancer, no symptom should be ignored or overlooked, especially if it has lasted a long time or is getting worse.”
The health organisation goes on to list a number of cancer symptoms which can often be ignored.
Weight loss without trying
It said: “Losing 10 pounds or more that isn’t on purpose may be a sign of cancer.
“This happens most often with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, oesophagus (tube connecting the mouth to the stomach), or lung.”
It said: “Extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest may be a symptom of several different cancer types including leukaemia, colon cancer, or stomach cancer.”
Change in bowel habits
It said: “Long-term constipation, diarrhoea, or a change in size of the stool may be a sign of colon or rectal cancer.”
A change in bladder habits can also be something to watch out for. It added: “Pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, or a change such as needing to go more or less often than usual could be related to bladder or prostate cancer.“