Cancer and what to look out for

Being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating and often life changing event. More than 367,000 new cancer cases are recorded in the UK every year according to Cancer Research UK. While around 50% survive cancer for more than 10 years afterwards, there are many whose diagnosis is too late to save them. Latest figures show that around 115,000 cancer patients in England were diagnosed too late to give them the best chance of survival.

Although it is important to heed the advice of medical professionals it is also important you look out for some symptoms that can be a sign of cancer. Here are some that you should not ignore and get checked out as soon as you can.

Unusual lumps

Cancerous lumps often tend to be painless so you can't just wait around for them to start feeling sensitive - as that may not happen. Make sure you get swellings checked out.

Persistent coughing

While infections and viruses will go in time, a chronic cough for months is more worrying and should be assessed by a doctor.

Changes in bowel movements

Constipation and diarrhoea are two common changes that could be indicative of many non-cancerous issues, but they can also be linked to diseases like bowel cancer. Other things to look out for are a change in colour of your faeces and blood in your stool.

Needing to the toilet more frequently

Needing to urinate more often is common if you have something like diabetes, a kidney infection or a urinary tract infection, but it can also be one of the main symptoms of prostate cancer.

Unexpected bleeding

Unexpected bleeding from your reproductive organs (apart from during a woman’s period) or anus is not normal and can be a sign of cancer.

Unexplained weight loss

If you haven't been actively trying to lose weight and suddenly lose 10lbs or more it can be the first sign of cancer. This happens most often with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, oesophagus, or lung.


Extreme tiredness could be a sign of any number of chronic illness like chronic fatigue syndrome/ME but it is also sometimes a sign of cancer. Patients also tend to have other symptoms.

New or changing moles

Keep an eye out for any new moles or any changes in the size, shape or colour of existing ones as they can be related to skin cancer.

A wound, spot or mouth ulcer that won't heal

Ulcers that don't heal within four weeks or a spot or wound that doesn't clear up within a month are potential symptoms of skin cancer.

Mouth ulcers that don't go away can be a symptom of oral cancer - particularly if they appear on the tongue.

Unexplained or chronic pain

Aching for a few days after the gym is totally normal, but having pain that you can't account for is something that you should get checked for. It doesn't necessarily have to mean cancer; fibromyalgia or back pain are chronic conditions but not necessarily life-threatening.

The important thing is to seek medical advice as soon as you notice any changes.

What to do if you think you may have a claim

Discovering you have cancer is distressing enough, but finding out it could have been detected earlier adds to the stress and upset. If you have experienced sub-standard treatment or bad medical advice, you may be entitled to make a claim.

We understand that medical negligence is a particularly sensitive topic at the moment. Whilst we recognise the fantastic work the NHS is doing in exceptional circumstances, unfortunately there are people who have suffered historical medical negligence. Many of the claims we bring are against the private sector rather than the NHS.

If you think you may have a negligence claim we are here to support you and can discuss your options with you. Our expert solicitors deal with all kinds of cancer claims and they can help you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Call us, request a call back at the top of your screen or start your claim here.


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