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Warning Signs

Use Caution!

If you have any of these early warning signs, contact your physician. Early detection is essential for improved survival for patients with cancer. Although these signs may seem vague, they may indicate that cancer is present.

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • Obvious change in a mole or wart
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness

Change in Bowel or Bladder Habits

Change in bowel habits may be a sign of colorectal cancer.  Constipation or diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain may indicate that there is a tumor blocking your colon.  A major symptom of cancer in the rectum is discharge of blood with bowel movements.

A Sore that Does Not Heal

A sore that does not heal may be related to cancer.  Smokers and people who use chewing tobacco may develop oral leukoplakia.  Oral leukoplakia are rough white patches which form in the mouth.  These patches may develop into cancer.

Unusual Bleeding or Discharge

Unusual bleeding or discharge from the rectum, bladder, or vagina may indicate signs of cancer.

Thickening or Lump in Breast or Elsewhere

Thickening or a lump in the breast can be signs of breast cancer.  Other signs of breast cancer include retraction of the nipple, nipple discharge, pain or tenderness in that area.  Cancer of the testis may present with a lump in the testicular area.

Indigestion or Difficulty in Swallowing

Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing can be a symptom of esophageal or stomach cancer.  People with esophageal cancer may complain that food "feels stuck" when they eat.

Obvious Change in a Mole or Wart

Obvious change in a mole or wart (or darkening of a previously normal area) can be a sign of melanoma, or skin cancer.

Nagging Cough or Hoarseness

Nagging cough or hoarseness may be early signs of lung cancer, which is the number one killer in women and men who have cancer.



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