Six cancer warning signs to look out for as disease remains leading cause of death in UK

Cancers can often have hidden symptoms
Cancers can often have hidden symptoms -Credit:PA

Health experts have outlined some early warning symptoms of cancer, urging people to see their GP if they spot any signs.

Cancer remains a leading cause of death in the UK. In 2016/18, data from Cancer Research revealed 375,000 new cases and 167,142 cancer-related deaths.

Someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes, while someone dies from cancer every four minutes. Recognising warning signs is important for survival, as statistics show that only half of those diagnosed survive for ten years or more, reports the Mirror.

Sometimes symptoms show up in specific places like our tummy or skin, while others are more general, like weight loss, fatigue, or unexplained pain. It’s important to know what's normal for you and talk to your doctor if you notice any unusual changes or persistent issues. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for.

Persistent night sweats or fevers

Excessive sweating during the night or experiencing a high temperature (fever) might result from infections or certain medications. It's a common symptom among women during menopause. However, if you're getting severe, excessive night sweats or a fever without any apparent cause, it's vital you consult your doctor for further evaluation and tests.


Feeling tired is a common thing, especially during stressful times or if you’re having trouble sleeping. However, persistent fatigue without a clear cause might be signalling an underlying issue. If you find yourself constantly tired, it's essential to consult your doctor to rule out any potential health concerns, including cancer.

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

Any signs of unexplained bleeding or bruising should never be ignored. Whether it's blood in your stool or urine, vomiting or coughing up blood, or experiencing vaginal bleeding outside of your regular cycle, it's crucial to consult your doctor. Regardless of the amount or colour of blood, from bright red to darker shades like brown or black, seek medical advice immediately.

Unusual pains or aches

Pain is the body's signal that something isn't right. While aches and pains are common as we age, persistent or unexplained pain anywhere in the body might indicate a deeper issue, possibly cancer. Do not ignore the signs. Seek help as soon as possible.

Unexplained weight loss

While slight weight changes are common, significant and unexplained weight loss warrants attention. If you've shed pounds without intending to, it's crucial to inform your doctor promptly.

Unusual lumps or swelling

Any persistent lumps or swellings in the neck, armpit, stomach, groin, chest, breast, or testicle could be a cause for concern and need to be taken seriously. It's crucial to seek medical attention if you notice any of these changes in your body.

The NHS says: "Changes to your body's normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. Symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor include a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding, changes to your bowel habits. But in many cases your symptoms will not be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions." More information can be found on the NHS website here.