Cancer: Nine symptoms which could indicate cancer according to expert – what to spot

Cancer: Nine symptoms which could indicate cancer according to expert – what to spot

Lung cancer: Dr Amir describes the symptoms

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Doctor Amen Sibtain, consultant clinical oncologist at The Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA healthcare UK spoke exclusively with to discuss some of the main symptoms which could be attributed to cancer.

Unexplained pain or ache

If you have a new, unexplained pain anywhere in your body that lasts for three weeks or more, see your GP to get it checked.

“This includes bone pain, which is often overlooked,” added Doctor Sibtain.

“While it’s highly unlikely that your symptoms are caused by cancer, if you have a persistent ache in any bone, which continues at night and when resting, it might be worth getting it checked out.”

Heavy night sweats

Some infections can cause night sweats and some women experience them when they are going through the menopause.

However, if you have very heavy night sweats, i.e. ones that drench your bed clothes, you should get them checked by your GP, as they may be an early symptom of lymphoma or leukaemia.

Unexplained weight loss

“If you find yourself losing a noticeable amount of weight without having changed your diet or workout routine, tell your doctor,” warned Doctor Sibtain.

“This could be related to stressful lifestyle changes, such as a bereavement or a divorce, but it can also be the sign of a serious condition.”

Unusual lumps or swelling

Doctor Sibtain explained: “Persistent lumps or swelling in any part of your body – whether they cause you discomfort or not – should be taken seriously and properly assessed by a doctor.

“That includes any lumps in the face, neck, armpit, stomach, groin, chest, breast or testicle.”


While there are lots of explanations for feeling very tired, struggling with long-term exhaustion and weakness for no clear reason could be related to a long-term condition or cancer.

It is important not to brush this off as tiredness and visit your doctor.

Persistent bloating

Doctor Sibtain said: “A bloated tummy can be a common symptom of many conditions, from indigestion to period pain.

“However, if you feel bloated most days, this could be a sign of something more serious.”

A persistent cough

Coughs are commonly associated with colds, flu and even COVID-19.

But if you have a persistent cough, or a croaky voice that doesn’t go away after three weeks, then it is worth getting checked by your GP.

Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty swallowing or eating, or a feeling that something is stuck in your throat can be a sign of cancer and shouldn’t be ignored.

Unexplained bleeding

“While unexplained bleeding may be caused by something far less serious than cancer, it is important to always report it to your doctor,” added Doctor Sibtain.

“This includes blood in your poo or urine, vomiting or coughing up blood, and any unexplained vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex or after the menopause.

“No matter how much or what colour – red, or a darker colour like brown or black – get it checked out.”

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