Signs and symptoms

It's important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms.

Although it's unlikely to be cancer, it's important to speak to a GP so they can investigate. Finding cancer early means it's easier to treat.

If your GP suspects cancer, they'll refer you to a specialist – usually within 2 weeks.

Speak to 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.

Speak to a GP if you've noticed changes in your usual bowel habits and it's lasted for 3 weeks or more.

The type of changes to look out for include:

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:

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

It’s important to regularly check your breasts, underarms, groin and testicles for any new lumps or changes.

Speak to a GP if you have a mole that:

Any of these changes mean there's a chance you have melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer.

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.

Read about unintentional weight loss.

Speak to a GP if you have pain anywhere in your tummy or back and you’re not sure what’s causing it. This includes a dull pain that’s always there or a sharp pain that comes and goes.

Some cancers can give you indigestion or heartburn and acid reflux. This can feel like burning in your chest (heartburn) and make you burp or hiccup more than usual.

Speak to a GP if you get any of these symptoms regularly and are not sure why you’re getting them.

Speak to a GP if your skin is itchy, and your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow (jaundice). Your pee may also look darker than usual.

With some cancers the symptoms can be harder to notice. It’s important to speak to a GP if you think something is not right, or you keep feeling tired and unwell and you’re not sure why.

The following links have more useful information about cancer: