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Cancer symptoms

It is important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body. These symptoms are often caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but it is important you see your doctor so they can investigate.

Other potential signs and symptoms of cancer are outlined below:

  • lumpiness or a thickened area in your breasts, any changes in the shape or colour of your breasts, unusual nipple discharge, a nipple that turns inwards (if it hasn't always been that way) or any unusual pain
  • a lump in the neck, armpit or anywhere else in the body
  • sores or ulcers that don't heal
  • coughs or hoarseness that won't go away or coughing up blood
  • changes in toilet habits that last more than two weeks, blood in a bowel motion or urine
  • new moles or skin spots, or ones that have changed shape, size or colour, or that bleed
  • unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • unexplained weight loss
  • diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • pain in your abdomen (tummy) or your anus (back passage)
  • persistent bloating.

If you notice any changes, see your doctor immediately. For more information, see Cancer Council Australia's early detection fact sheets, or call Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

Remember there are free screening programs available for breast cancer, cervical cancer and bowel cancer.

Sources: Cancer Council Australia (General advice), NHS Choices, UK (Cancer)

Last reviewed: September 2015

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