It's important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body, such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine, or a change to your usual bowel habits.
These symptoms are often caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but it's important to see your GP so they can investigate.
If your GP suspects cancer, they'll refer you to a specialist – usually within 2 weeks.
Read more about waiting times for cancer referrals and treatment.
Lump in your breast
See your 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.
Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
Visit your GP if you've had a cough for more than 3 weeks.
Changes in bowel habits
See your GP if you've experienced one of the changes listed below and it's lasted for more than a few weeks:
You should also see your GP if you have any unexplained bleeding, such as:
See your GP if you have a mole that:
- has an irregular or asymmetrical shape
- has an irregular border with jagged edges
- has more than one colour – it may be flecked with brown, black, red, pink or white
- is bigger than 7mm in diameter
- is itchy, crusting or bleeding
Any of the above changes means there's a chance you have malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
Unexplained weight loss
You should also see your GP if you've lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that can't be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.
Read about unintentional weight loss.
The following links have more useful information about cancer.
Page last reviewed: 5 September 2016
Next review due: 5 September 2019