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Symptoms of cancer

Detecting cancer early is important to save lives. Cancer can cause many symptoms. And many of these can be the same as other diseases. But there are some key symptoms that are more strongly linked to cancer.

If you develop any of these symptoms, make an appointment right away to see your doctor. It’s important to see your doctor about these symptoms even during the pandemic. They will work with you to decide what tests you need.

  • an unusual lump or swelling (that may be painless and grows in size)
  • pain, especially if it’s really strong, gets worse, or doesn’t go away
  • a spot, sore, or wound that doesn’t heal
  • coughing up blood
  • blood in your pee (urine)
  • blood in your poop (stool), especially if you also have trouble passing stool (constipation or not emptying all of it), loose stool (diarrhea), weight loss, or pain in your belly
  • a cough that gets worse or doesn’t go away
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble peeing (urinating), such as needing to pee right away, more often, having trouble passing urine, or having pain when you pee
  • changes to your breasts, such as a lump, pain, or a change in the size, shape, feel, or look of the breast
  • a new mole
  • changes to a mole, such as a change in size, shape, or colour or a mole that’s crusty, bleeds, or oozes
  • trouble swallowing food
  • heartburn that’s painful or doesn’t go away
  • pain in the upper part of the belly (called indigestion) that doesn’t go away
  • unexplained and extreme tiredness and lack of energy
  • heavy night sweats that make your sheets and pajamas wet
  • feeling less hungry than usual for a long time
  • unexplained weight loss

Learn more from the Canadian Cancer Society:

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For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: September 29, 2020

Author: Cancer Strategic Clinical Network, AHS