Symptoms

  • Resize font
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
Young woman receiving thyroid exam from her doctor

If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, it is important to see a doctor.

Credit: iStock

Cancer can cause many different symptoms. These are some of them: 

  • Skin changes, such as: 
    • A new mole or a change in an existing mole
    • A sore that does not heal
  • Breast changes, such as: 
    • Change in size or shape of the breast or nipple
    • Change in texture of breast skin
  • A thickening or lump on or under the skin
  • Hoarseness or cough that does not go away
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Problems with eating, such as: 
    • Discomfort after eating
    • A hard time swallowing
    • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain or loss with no known reason
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained night sweats
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge, including: 
    • Blood in the urine
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Blood in the stool
  • Feeling weak or very tired

Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. They may also be caused by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, it is important to see a doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. 

Usually, early cancer does not cause pain. If you have symptoms, do not wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor. 

To learn more about symptoms for a specific cancer, see the PDQ® cancer treatment summaries for adult and childhood cancers. These summaries include information about symptoms.

  • Posted: March 5, 2015

Most text on the National Cancer Institute website may be reproduced or reused freely. The National Cancer Institute should be credited as the source and a link to this page included, e.g., “Symptoms was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.”

Please note that blog posts that are written by individuals from outside the government may be owned by the writer, and graphics may be owned by their creator. In such cases, it is necessary to contact the writer, artists, or publisher to obtain permission for reuse.

We welcome your comments on this post. All comments must follow our comment policy.