• Staff members of a government-run pharmaceutical college light candles

Staff members of a government-run pharmaceutical college light candles (Photo : Reuters)

Signs and symptoms are signals of illness or injury indicating that something is wrong about the body. As far as cancer is concerned, though the symptoms vary from one type of cancer to other certain early signs indicative of the disease shouldn't be ignored. Some early signs of cancer are here under.

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Sudden unexplained loss of weight

Losing or gaining weight happen with everybody due to changes in lifestyle, social and personal stress factors but sudden unexplained decrease in weight of over 10 pounds could be first sign of cancer, according to American cancer society.


Extreme tiredness that doesn't get better even after good amount of rest might be an indication of cancer. Fatigue is an important symptom as cancer grows but could be felt early in case of certain cancers like leukemia.


Fever is common in all type of cancers but mostly occurs after the disease started spreading from the region of its origin to other parts of the body. All cancer patients would suffer from fever at some point during the course of the disease but is predominant when the immune system of the patient is affected by cancer.


In case of bone and testicular cancers pain is an early sign of the disease whereas it is not the case in other type of tumors. Persistent headache could occur in brain tumor and back pain could be felt in colon, rectum or ovarian cancers.  

Changes in the colour of the skin

Excessive hair growth, darkening of the skin, skin reddening, yellowish tinge in the skin and eyes and itching could be early signs of cancer caused as a result of interruption in the bodily functions.

Changes in bowel functions

Diarrhea, changes in the size of the stool and long-term constipation could be indications colon cancer. Painful urination, blood in the urine could be early signs of prostate or bladder cancer.

Unusual discharge or bleeding

Coughing up blooding could be an early symptom of lung cancer and abnormal vaginal bleeding in women could be indicating cancer in the endometrium or the cervix. In case of breast bloody discharge in the nipple could be an early sign of cancer, according to Web MD


Unusual lumps or thickening of skin in breast, lymph nodes, testicles and soft tissues of the body could be indications of cancer.