What Are the Symptoms of the Most Common Cancers?

Symptoms of cancer vary depending on the specific cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer may include:
New lump in the breast (most common symptom)
A lump in the armpit
A change in the size or the shape of the breast
Skin irritation or dimpling
Swelling of all or part of the breast
Redness, scaling, flaking, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
Breast pain
Nipple pain
Nipple turning inward
Nipple discharge that is not breast milk
Early-stage prostate cancer often causes no symptoms. As it progresses, symptoms of prostate cancer may include:
Problems with urination
Frequent urge to urinate, especially at night
Slow or weak urinary stream
Blood in urine or semen
Impotence (erectile dysfunction, or ED)
Numbness or weakness in the legs or feet
Loss of bladder or bowel control if cancer presses on the spinal cord
Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that spreads to bones
Lung cancer may have no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms of lung cancer occur, they may include:
Breathing problems
Shortness of breath
Persistent or worsening cough
Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum
Chest pain that may be worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
Loss of appetite
Unexplained weight loss
Respiratory infections that don’t go away or come back
Colorectal cancer might not cause early symptoms. When symptoms of colorectal cancer occur, they may include:
Changes in bowel habits that last more than a few days
Narrowing of the stool
A feeling of needing to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one
Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
Blood in the stool (stool may appear dark brown or black)
Abdominal cramping or pain
Unintended weight loss
Symptoms of melanoma skin cancer include changes in skin lesions or moles, or the development of new moles that can be remembered by the ABCDE’s:
Asymmetry – Irregularly shaped, each half looks different
Border – Jagged, uneven, irregular edges
Color – Mole is several different colors
Diameter – Size greater than ¼ inch
Evolution – Changes in size, shape, or color
Other symptoms of melanoma skin cancer may include
Symptoms of bladder cancer are often found early and may include:
Blood in urine (hematuria): often the first sign
Urine may appear orange, pink, or, less often, dark red
Changes in bladder habits
Urinary frequency
Feeling as if you need to go right away, even when the bladder isn’t full
Pain or burning during urination
Bladder irritation
Difficulty urinating or having a weak urine stream
Urinating multiple times during the night (nocturia)
Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include:
Tiredness (fatigue)
One or more large, swollen lymph nodes
Swollen abdomen
Feeling full after only a small amount of food
Easy bruising or bleeding
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or pressure
Severe or frequent infections

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