World Cancer Day: 7 common potential symptoms of cancer to watch out for

IT is World Cancer Day and people are being encouraged to raise awareness of cancer.

Friday, 4th February 2022, 4:00 pm

The day is always held on February 4 and is an annual event.

First created in the year 2000, World Cancer Day aims to ‘help close the cancer care gap for a cancer-free world’.

But what are the signs of cancer that you need to look out for?

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A laboratory test. Picture: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images

Here are some of the potential symptoms, according to the NHS website.

Changes in bowel habits

Speak to a GP if you've noticed these changes and it's lasted for 3 weeks or more:

- tummy discomfort

- blood in your poo

- diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason

- a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet

- pain in your stomach or back passage (anus)

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Speak to a GP if you've had bloating for 3 weeks or more.


You should also speak to a GP if you have any unexplained bleeding, such as:

- blood in your urine

- vaginal bleeding between periods

- vaginal bleeding a year or more after the menopause (postmenopausal bleeding)

- bleeding from your bottom

- blood when you cough

- blood in your vomit

Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness

Contact a GP if you've had a cough for 3 weeks or more.

Symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may also be a sign of a condition such as pneumonia. Speak to a GP straight away if you have these types of symptoms.

Lump in your breast

Speak to a GP if you notice a lump in your breast or if you have a lump that's rapidly increasing in size elsewhere on your body.

Your GP will refer you to a specialist for tests if they think you may have cancer.


Speak to a GP if you have a mole that:

- changes shape or looks uneven

- changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours

- starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding

- gets larger or more raised from the skin

Any of the above changes means there's a chance you have malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

Unexplained weight loss

You should also speak to a GP if you've lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that cannot be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.

What should you do if you have any of these symptoms?

The NHS says that ‘it's important to speak to a GP so they can investigate’.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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