Warning Signs of Cancer Most People Ignore

#1: A Chronic Cough or Chest Pain

A cough that won’t go away or recurring chest pain that radiates up into the arms and shoulders can be a sign of certain types of cancer, including lung cancer and leukemia. These symptoms mimic those of bronchitis or a regular chest cough/cold, but if these symptoms continue on for weeks or months on end, it could be a sign of something else going on inside your body.

#2: Difficulty or Painful Swallowing

If you have an ongoing problem with swallowing or experience pain in your throat or esophagus when trying to swallow water, food or saliva, it could be a potential warning sign of cancer. Cancers of the throat, esophagus and mouth often cause painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing as one of the first symptoms.

#3: Frequent Infections and/or Fevers

When your body is busy fighting off something internally, it can’t handle every day germs and infections that it encounters. If you’re getting frequent fevers and/or infections that keep coming back or don’t seem to go away, it could be a sign of leukemia. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood that alters your white blood cells and inhibits them from properly fighting off infections.

woman with fever

#4: Shortness of Breath or Wheezing

Lung cancer and certain types of lymphomas that cause tumors in the chest can lead to people experiencing chronic shortness of breath or consistent wheezing. If you experience this symptoms for a long period of time, it may be a sign of some sort of tumor or obstruction near your lungs.

#5: Weakness and Fatigue

We all feel a little weak and tired at times, so this symptom is difficult to diagnose. It’s also a common symptom of many different types of physical as well as mental diseases. However, if you’re experiencing extreme weakness or fatigue – like you’re wiped out from doing a simple task or are still extremely tired after getting plenty of sleep – it could be a warning sign of cancer.

fatigued woman

#6: Swollen Lymph Nodes on Neck, Arm Pit or Groin

Your lymph nodes are located throughout your neck, arm pits and underarm area and your groin. They handle toxins in your body and help to fight off infection. When they’re overloaded and can’t handle their duties, they become swollen. You may notice that even when you get a cold, your glands become swollen. However, if your glands remain swollen and even painful for a long period of time, it may be a sign that your body is fighting something more serious.

doctor checking womans lymph nodes

#7: Unexplained Weight Loss

Most people would love to lose weight for no reason at all! However, if you’re not exercising, are eating normal and you’re still losing a significant amount of weight, it could be a sign of cancer. Unexplained weight loss is typically an early symptom of colon cancer and other cancers of the digestive system.

woman weighing herself

#8: Bloating

Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer reported a sudden feeling of fullness in their abdomen that never went away. If you have a constant feeling of bloating following you around all day even when you’re not eating or drinking, this could potentially be a warning sign of cancer.

woman bloating

#9: Blood in Stool/Rectal Bleeding

Dark blood in your stool or bleeding from your rectum is a telltale sign of colon cancer and potentially other cancers of the digestive system such as stomach cancer. If you see dark blood in your stool, it’s time to call a doctor. Light red blood is typically cause by irritation and may be harmless, it’s the dark blood that can be cause for concern.

woman on toilet

#10: Pain in Your Lower Back or Right Side

Cancers of the liver are known to cause pain in the lower back or right side of your body. It may start as a dull, aching pain or may be sharp and intense; but it will not go away. Breast cancer can also cause this type of pain when a tumor in the breast pushes onto the spine and causes pain to radiate down to the lower back.

woman lower back pain

#11: Facial Swelling

Redness, puffiness and/or swelling in the face may be a warning sign of certain types of cancer, most notable lung cancer. Cancers of the lung can inhibit the flow of red blood vessels from the chest to the face, which in turn can cause facial swelling.

woman holding face

#12: A Sore or Mark on the Skin that Bleeds or Never Heals

A mole, sore or other odd-looking mark on your skin that changes over time is a tell-tale sign of skin cancer. As the saying goes, “if you see a spot change, see a doctor”. A mark on your skin that becomes crusty, bleeds frequently or never seems to heal properly can be a sign of skin cancer.

doctor checking woman for skin cancer

#13: Heavy or Painful Periods or Bleeding in Between Periods

Heavy or painful periods, or bleeding in between periods has been reported as an early warning sign of uterine and endometrial cancers. If something is off during or in between your periods, ask your gynecologist to perform a vaginal ultrasound to learn more about what may be going on inside your body.

woman on period

#14: Stomachache or Chronically Upset Stomach

Ongoing stomach cramps, uncomfortable feelings in the abdomen, unusual gas and a chronically upset stomach may be warning signs of colon cancer. If you’re experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis and they don’t seem to get better on their own over time, it’s worth checking in with your doctor for further testing.

woman with stomach ache

#15: Pain in Abdomen or Pelvic Area

Constant pain in the abdomen or pelvic area – usually in the form of a dull ache but sometimes sharp – can be a sign of ovarian cancer. This symptom also goes ahdn in hand with bloating – so if you’re experiencing pain in the abdomen region along with bloating, it’s time to get checked out.

woman with pain in abdomen

#16: A Sore, Red or Swollen Breast

Inflammation within the breast tissue can cause all sorts of outward symptoms in the breast including soreness, redness, swelling and painful breasts. This inflammation can potentially be caused by breast cancer. It’s important to relay any changes in appearance or feeling within your breasts to your doctor so they can do further testing for breast cancer.

woman getting breast exam

#17: Changes in Your Nipples

Along with changes in your breast and physical symptoms on your breasts, it’s important to pay attention to any changes on your nipples specifically. Many women with breast cancer reports changes in their nipples as the first sign that something was wrong, notably that their nipples flattened out, became inverted or started to run sideways.

woman getting nipple exam

#18: Changes in Your Nails

Changes in the appearance of your fingernails with no apparent cause can be a sign of cancer. Specifically, brown/black streaks underneath the nail or brown/black dots underneath the nail may be cause for concern as they may be signs of skin cancer.

womans nails

#19: Feeling of Fullness or Inability to Eat

If you’re constantly feeling bloated or full, you’re going to be less likely to eat and have a decreased appetite. Women that have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer often say that they have a constant feeling of fullness in their stomach, even when they haven’t eaten for extended periods of time.

woman with no appetite

#20: Excessive Bleeding or Bruising

If you’re experiencing excessive bleeding or bruising that doesn’t seem to go away, it could be a potential warning sign of certain types of cancers. This sypmtom typically suggests that something abnormal is going on with your platelets and red blood cells. Leukemia – a cancer of the blood – produces an abundance of abnormal white blood cells, which can, over time start to push out red blood cells. This in turn inhibits your body’s ability to carry oxygen within the blood and allow it to clot to stop bleeding and heal bruises.

woman in pain bruises