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Recognizing Cancer Symptoms

Unfortunately, many types of cancer don't display any obvious symptoms or cause pain until well advanced. Because early-stage cancer symptoms tend to be subtle, they are often mistaken for signs of other, less-threatening diseases. Here are the seven warning signs of cancer:

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • An obvious change in a wart or mole
  • A nagging cough or hoarseness

Some symptoms are specific to certain types of cancer, such as difficult urination for prostate cancer, or flu-like symptoms for acute leukemias. Don't hesitate to discuss unusual symptoms with your doctor. Diagnostic tests are available for most common cancers. If diagnosed early, your chances of surviving cancer are greatly increased.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center