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Signs and Symptoms

Cancer symptoms are quite varied and depend on the site of origin of the cancer and the type of tumour. Common signs and symptoms of cancer are: -

  • A sore or ulcer that does not heal within 3 weeks despite treatment (especially if located in the mouth).
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge from any orifice.
  • Thickening or lump anywhere in the body.
  • White patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue.
  • Difficulty in swallowing which lasts for more than 3 weeks.
  • Repeated abdominal cramps and indigestion.
  • Difficulty in urination or blood in urine, especially in persons above 45 years of age.
  • Any recent change in a wart or mole on the skin.
  • Listlessness, anaemia, intermittent fever despite conventional medication or unexplained weight loss.

These signs and symptoms need not always be due to cancer. Consult a specialist in case of the above symptoms.

When cancer spreads, or metastasizes, additional symptoms may be seen. Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes are common. In case of brain tumours, patients may experience vertigo, headaches or seizures. Spread of cancer to the lungs may cause cough and shortness of breath. When it spreads to the liver, the liver may become enlarged and jaundice may develop. Bones can become painful, brittle, and break easily. Many symptoms of cancer ultimately depend on the location to which the cancer has spread.