It's important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms, such as blood in your pee or poo, a lump, persistent bloating or a cough for 3 weeks or more.
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.
Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
Contact 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.
Changes in bowel habits
Speak to a GP if you've noticed these changes and it's lasted for more than a few weeks:
- blood in your poo
- diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
- a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
- pain in your stomach or back passage (anus)
Speak to a GP if you've had bloating for 3 weeks or more.
Lump in your breast
Speak to a GP if you notice a lump in your breast or if you have a lump that's rapidly increasing in size elsewhere on your body.
Your GP will refer you to a specialist for tests if they think you may have cancer.
Unexplained weight loss
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.
You should also speak to a GP if you have any unexplained bleeding, such as:
Speak to a GP if you have a mole that:
- changes shape or looks uneven
- changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours
- starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
- gets larger or more raised from the skin
Any of the above changes means there's a chance you have malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
The following links have more useful information about cancer:
Page last reviewed: 17 September 2019
Next review due: 17 September 2022