Possible Signs Warning of Cancer Usually Ignored

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, and early detection is crucial for successful treatment. However, many signs of cancer are often subtle and easily overlooked. Recognizing these early warning signs can make a significant difference in outcomes. Here are some common but usually ignored signs that could indicate cancer.

1. Unexplained Weight Loss

Sudden, unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be one of the first signs of cancer, particularly cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lungs. If you’re losing weight without changes to your diet or exercise routine, consult a doctor.

2. Fatigue

While fatigue can result from many conditions, persistent, severe tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest could indicate cancer. Leukemia and cancers of the colon or stomach often cause blood loss that isn’t obvious, leading to fatigue.

3. Fever

Fever is commonly associated with infection, but persistent or recurrent fever without an obvious cause can be a sign of blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma. It’s essential to see a doctor if you have a prolonged fever.

4. Skin Changes

Skin changes such as new growths, sores that don’t heal, or changes in moles or warts could signal skin cancer. Additionally, other cancers can cause skin symptoms like darkened, yellowish, or reddened skin, as well as itching or excessive hair growth.

5. Pain

Pain that persists and has no clear cause might be a symptom of cancer. For example, persistent headaches could be a sign of a brain tumor, while back pain could indicate ovarian or colon cancer. Bone cancer or testicular cancer can cause aching bones or joints.

6. Changes in Bowel or Bladder Habits

Persistent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool size, could be a sign of colon cancer. Similarly, bladder changes, such as pain during urination, blood in the urine, or a change in bladder function, could indicate bladder or prostate cancer.

7. Unusual Bleeding

Unexplained bleeding can occur in early or advanced cancer. Coughing up blood might indicate lung cancer, while blood in the stool could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Women experiencing unusual vaginal bleeding should be evaluated for cervical or endometrial cancer.

8. Difficulty Swallowing

Persistent difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, could be a sign of esophageal or throat cancer. It might also be associated with cancers of the mouth or stomach.

9. Persistent Cough or Hoarseness

A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time can be a sign of lung cancer. Hoarseness might be an early sign of cancer of the larynx or thyroid.

10. Lump or Thickening

A lump or thickening under the skin, particularly in the breast, testicles, or lymph nodes, should never be ignored. These changes could indicate cancer, especially if they grow over time.

11. Indigestion or Difficulty Eating

Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating might be a sign of cancers of the stomach, esophagus, or throat. These symptoms are often overlooked or attributed to less serious conditions.

12. Changes in the Mouth

White patches inside the mouth or on the tongue, which do not go away, might be precancerous conditions called leukoplakia. Mouth ulcers that do not heal can be another sign of oral cancer.

13. Changes in Nails

Unexplained changes in the fingernails can be a sign of several types of cancer. For example, brown or black streaks or dots under the nail can indicate skin cancer. “Clubbing,” which is enlargement of the ends of the fingers with nails that curve down over the tips, can be a sign of lung cancer.


While these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer, it’s essential not to ignore them. If you notice any of these warning signs, see a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation. Early detection and treatment are key to improving the chances of successful outcomes in cancer care.