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cancer signs and symptomsCancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Early detection and treatment are key to a successful cure of cancer. Diagnosing cancer at an early stage generally means that it can be treated since it is still small and less likely to have spread to other body parts.

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Possible signs of cancer include the following:

  • New thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body
  • New mole or an obvious change in the appearance of an existing wart or mole
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained changes in weight
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge

When these or other symptoms occur, they are not always caused by cancer. They can be caused by infections, benign tumors, or other problems. It is important to see a doctor about any of these cancer symptoms or about other physical changes. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis. A person with these or other cancer symptoms should not wait to feel pain because early cancer usually does not cause pain.

If any of these cancer symptoms occur, the doctor may perform a physical examination, order blood work and other tests, and/or recommend a biopsy. In most cases, a biopsy is the only way to know for certain whether cancer is present. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a sample of tissue from the abnormal area. A pathologist studies the tissue under a microscope to identify cancer cells.

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Source: National Cancer Institute

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