What Are Some Common Signs and Symptoms of Cancer?

Among the general sings and symptoms that may indicate cancer are pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, changes on the skin and fever. It is important to keep in mind that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that a patient has cancer as these symptoms may signify other ailments. It is best to consult with a physician If these symptoms persist for a long time or worsen over time.


Pain is one of the earliest indicators of cancer, particularly testicular cancer or cancer of the bones. Persistent headaches that do not respond to treatment are a symptom of a brain tumor. Pain that radiates on the back is a common cancer symptom associated with ovarian, rectal and colon cancer.

A 10-pound weight loss without any apparent reason is another common sign of cancer, which includes cancer of the esophagus, lung, stomach and pancreas. Chronic fatigue that does not get better even with ample rest can also indicate leukemia or stomach and colon cancers. When cancer is present, changes in the skin may also occur, such as hyperpigmentation, jaundice, itching, reddened skin, erythema and excessive skin growth.

There are also symptoms that are specific to certain types of cancer. For instance, sores that do not heal are one of the signs of skin cancer. The presence of blood in sputum is a common sign of lung cancer, and in stools in the case of colon and rectal cancer. Again the presence of these signs should not immediately be interpreted as cancer, as they can also be symptoms of other diseases.