NHS lists the 11 most common and 'worrying' signs of cancer including skin changes

Cervical lymphadenitis of the right side in a woman.
Being body aware could well save your life -Credit:Getty

A list has been shared of 11 of the most common and 'worrying' signs of cancer according to experts at the NHS.

Some of the earliest warning symptoms of cancer can be easily missed so doctors urge people to speak to someone if something doesn't feel right, reports the Mirror.

The NHS are always encouraging people to watch out for worrying symptoms and not ignore them as something that could be harmless. While some are more harmless than others, the NHS have painted a clear picture that if they're concerned, they should speak to a professional.

Tests could put your mind at rest and as we're forever told: the sooner an issue is spotted, the better. NHS England’s national clinical director for cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, says: "Cancer symptoms and early warning signs can be very varied, with some being less obvious than others. But what’s important to know is what is normal for you, so that you can spot any changes. If you have any concerns, or if something in your body doesn’t feel quite right, you should contact your GP practice.

"Blood cancers are the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK, with over 41,000 people diagnosed every year. The symptoms – such as breathlessness, night sweats or feeling tired when you’re not sure why – can be quite common, but if something doesn’t feel right for you, please contact your local GP practice. Finding cancer earlier saves lives."

Read on below for 11 of the most common symptoms of cancer and what you should do if you are concerned.

1. Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness

The NHS said that you should speak to a doctor if you have had a cough for three weeks or more. Other signs such as shortness of breath or chest pain could be an indicator of pneumonia.

You should speak to a GP straight away if you have any of the above symptoms.

2. Changes in bowel habits

You should also seek medical help if you have noticed changes in your typical bowel habits and it has lasted for at least three weeks, or more.

The different changes you should be looking out for include:

  • tummy discomfort

  • 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 bottom (anus)

  • your poo is loose, pale or looks greasy

3. Bloating

Bloating could be a sign of something serious -Credit:Getty

You should also be speaking to a GP if you've dealt with bloating for three weeks or more.

4. Bleeding

A doctor should also be contacted if you have had any unexplained bleeding, including:

  • blood in your urine

  • vaginal bleeding between periods

  • vaginal bleeding a year or more after the menopause (postmenopausal bleeding)

  • bleeding from your bottom

  • blood when you cough

  • blood in your vomit

5. Lumps

You should also speak to a GP if you notice a lump in your breast or somewhere else on your body that is noticeably increasing in size.

It is crucial that you check your breasts, groin, underarms and testicles for any new lumps or changes regularly.

6. Moles

Woman checking moles on shoulder.
You should always keep an eye on any existing moles -Credit:Getty

Speak to a medical professional 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 one of these changes could mean you have melanoma - which is a serious type of skin cancer.

7. Unexplained weight loss

You should also be speaking with a doctor if you have lost a lot of weight over a period of a few months that cannot be explained through a change in exercise regime, diet or stress.

8. Tummy or back pain

People are also being urged to speak to a GP if they have pain anywhere in their stomach or back and aren't sure what is causing it.

This can include a dull pain that is always there or a sharp pain that can come and go.

9. Indigestion and heartburn

Some cancers can produce indigestion or heartburn and acid reflux. This can feel like a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), and can also make you burp or hiccup more often than usual.

Speak to a doctor if you are dealing with any of these symptoms regularly and aren't sure why it is happening.

10. Itchy or yellowing skin

You should speak to a doctor if your skin is itchy and it is also turning yellow, as well as the whites of your eyes. Your urine could also look darker than normal.

11. Feeling tired and unwell

With some cancers, symptoms can be a lot harder to notice. It is important to speak to a GP if you feel like something isn't right or you keep feeling tired or unwell - and you are unsure why.