25 Non-Obvious Cancer Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Article written by Alexander Isaakovich

Cancer is a complex disease that can manifest in many different ways. Some symptoms are well known, but others may not be as obvious.

Elegant hands of old woman
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

Here are 25 non-obvious cancer symptoms that you should never ignore as they could potentially indicate a serious health issue. It's important to stay vigilant about your health and consult a medical professional if you experience these symptoms.

Early detection and medical intervention can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery.

1. Night Sweats

Night sweats are often experienced by women going through menopause or individuals with sleep disorders, but they can also indicate cancer. It's very important to take note if you're having night sweats that aren't linked to the room's temperature or stress.

Sleepless mature man contemplating while sitting on the ned at night
Source: Image by Drazen Zigic from Freepik

This could potentially be a symptom of serious illnesses like lymphoma or leukemia. Therefore, unexplained night sweats should not be ignored.

2. Appetite Loss

Persistent and sudden appetite loss could be an indication of various types of cancer. This symptom is frequently associated with cancers such as stomach, pancreas, colon, or ovarian.

Young red-haired girl sits at the table with her head on her hand sadly understands the importance of fresh fruit
Source: Image by nakaridore from Freepik

If you observe that your appetite has notably decreased or you're consuming less than normal, it's a concern. In such cases, it's recommended to consult with a doctor.

3. Fatigue

Feeling tired occasionally is normal, however, persistent and severe fatigue could indicate a more significant issue. This extreme tiredness, which doesn't get better even with sufficient rest, might be a sign of different types of cancers.

Woman upset because of bad news in e-mail letter
Source: Image by yanalya from Freepik

If you're constantly feeling worn out even after getting enough sleep and relaxation, it's a concern. It would be beneficial to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about this.

4. Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexpected weight loss can potentially be worrying, especially if you're not actively trying to shed pounds. A sudden drop in weight of 10 pounds or more, not influenced by alterations in diet or physical activity, could potentially indicate an early stage of cancer.

Woman standing on a scale
Source: Image by rawpixel.com from Freepik

This symptom is frequently associated with specific types of cancer, including pancreatic, gastric, esophageal, or lung cancer. Hence, experiencing unexplained weight loss should not be overlooked.

5. An Unexplained Pain or Ache

Don't overlook continuous pain or discomfort that appears to have no clear origin. This could potentially signal various types of cancer, such as bone, brain, ovarian, colon, or rectal.

Front view of woman with elbow pain
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

If you're dealing with ongoing pain or aches that either don't get better or intensify, it's crucial to take action. Seeking medical attention in such cases is essential.

6. An Unusual Lump or Swelling Anywhere on Your Body

Examining your body regularly is crucial to detect any new or changing lumps or swellings. These symptoms may be early warning signs of various cancer types, including breast, testicular, lymphoma, or skin cancer.

Side view of a woman suffering from neck pain against blue wallpaper
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

Ignoring these developments can have serious consequences, so it's imperative not to overlook them. Timely attention and medical evaluation are essential for a better prognosis.

7. A New Mole

Although the majority of moles don't pose a health risk, the emergence of a new mole or alteration in an existing one could indicate skin cancer. It is crucial to keep an eye on moles for any modifications in their size, form, hue, or if they start to bleed, itch, or cause pain.

Close up hand holding magnifying glass
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

Should you observe any of these transformations, it's advisable to seek medical advice. A dermatologist would be the best professional to consult in such situations.

8. A Sore That Won't Heal

A persistent sore could potentially be an indication of cancer. This symptom is often seen in skin cancer, but it may also relate to oral and genital cancers.

Woman touching injured shoulder
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

You should seek medical attention if you have a sore, wound, or ulcer on your skin or in your mouth that does not heal within a fortnight. It's crucial to have it examined by a doctor.

9. Any Unusual Change in a Patch of Skin or a Nail

Skin cancer often manifests as an abnormal alteration in skin or nail areas. These changes could be in the form of variations in size, color, or texture, including the emergence of spots.

Close up man with dandruff issues back view
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

If you observe any persistent modifications to your skin or nails, it's important to take note. It is advisable to consult a medical professional if such changes do not resolve on their own.

10. Croaky Voice

A continuous raspy or hoarse voice may indicate the presence of laryngeal, or voice box, cancer. Should you experience hoarseness lasting over three weeks, particularly without a preceding cold or flu, it's recommended to consult your doctor.

Portrait of angry, adult girl with blond hair gathered in bun. wearing yellow sweater. holds palm next to her mouth and shout to the right at copy space. stand isolated over white wall
Source: Image by nakaridore from Freepik

It's of vital importance not to ignore ongoing alterations in your vocal tone. Persistent voice changes can be a significant warning sign.

11. Persistent Cough

Usually, a cough is associated with common ailments like colds or respiratory infections, but its persistence might be a red flag for lung cancer. If you experience a cough that lingers for three weeks or more, it's vital to seek medical advice promptly.

Young lady in green shirt suffering from cough and looking sick
Source: Image by 8photo from Freepik

Ignoring a persistent cough is unwise, as it could signal a potentially serious issue. In summary, a prolonged cough lasting three weeks or more should prompt a doctor's consultation.

12. Breathlessness

Should you discover that routine tasks now leave you breathless, it is advisable to seek medical attention. Experiencing shortness of breath during once easy activities could be indicative of a health issue.

A calisthenics instructor trains on the gymnast rings
Source: Image by Racool_studio from Freepik

This symptom can potentially signify the presence of lung cancer. Additionally, it could also be a warning sign of leukemia.

13. Mouth or Tongue Ulcer That Lasts Longer Than Three Weeks

Mouth ulcers are a frequent occurrence, but if they persist beyond three weeks, they could indicate oral cancer. This also applies to tongue ulcers.

Side view man sticking out the tongue
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

If an ulcer doesn't get better within this period, it's crucial to seek professional advice. Therefore, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist or doctor.

14. Coughing Up Blood

If you are experiencing hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, it could potentially indicate lung cancer. However, other conditions such as pneumonia or bronchitis could also result in this symptom.

Young ill man wearing glasses holding napkin keeping hand on waist and fist near mouth and coughing isolated on olive green wall
Source: Image by stockking from Freepik

It is crucial to seek urgent medical care if you're experiencing this symptom, no matter the frequency or volume. Make sure to consult with a doctor promptly if you're coughing up blood.

15. Difficulty Swallowing

Struggling to swallow, medically termed as dysphagia, could indicate the presence of esophageal, throat, or stomach cancer. Persistent issues with swallowing or discomfort during the process should not be taken lightly.

Close-up of a young woman having neck pain
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

It's crucial to consult a doctor if these symptoms persist. Ignoring such signs can potentially lead to critical health issues.

16. Persistent Heartburn or Indigestion

Heartburn or indigestion is something that most individuals encounter from time to time. However, if it's a constant issue, it could indicate the presence of esophageal or stomach cancer.

Aching young blonde female engineer wearing uniform keeping hands on chest with closed eyes
Source: Image by msgrowth from Freepik

Regular instances of severe heartburn or indigestion, particularly in individuals over 55, should not be ignored. In such cases, seeking advice from a healthcare professional is highly recommended.

17. Persistent Bloating

Persistent bloating could potentially indicate ovarian cancer. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you experience persistent bloating for a period of three weeks or longer.

Aching young female doctor wearing medical robe looking holding belly
Source: Image by stockking from Freepik

This becomes even more crucial if the bloating is coupled with additional symptoms like abdominal discomfort, alterations in bowel movements, or a sensation of being full rapidly. These symptoms together could be significant indicators of the disease.

18. Unusual Changes to the Size, Shape or Feel of a Breast

Breast cancer could potentially be indicated by any abnormal alterations in the size, shape, or texture of a breast. This could encompass lumps, thickening, modifications to the nipple, or variations in the skin.

Doctor with measure tape measuring the size of the patient's breast.
Source: Image by nensuria from Freepik

It's crucial that if you observe any such changes, you don't ignore them. Instead, ensure to consult with a healthcare professional for an examination.

19. A Change in Bowel Habit Such as Constipation, Looser Poo, or Pooing More Often

Alterations in your bowel movements, like constipation or loose stools, could indicate bowel cancer. Increased frequency in using the toilet may also be a symptom.

Young pretty woman in pain lying on bed
Source: Image by diana.grytsku from Freepik

If these variations continue for a period surpassing three weeks, it's a cause for concern. It's crucial to consult a doctor under these circumstances.

20. Blood in Your Poo

Finding blood in your stool can be unsettling, potentially signaling minor issues like hemorrhoids or more serious conditions like bowel cancer.

Red brush ink splatter background
Source: Image by vector_corp from Freepik

Consequently, if you notice this symptom, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for guidance and evaluation. Ignoring blood in your stool is not advisable due to the range of potential causes, some of which may require prompt attention.

21. Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding

Experiencing vaginal bleeding in between menstrual cycles, post-intercourse, or post-menopause could indicate the presence of uterine, cervical, or vaginal cancer. This is not to be taken lightly as it could be a significant health concern.

Close-up of girl holding a slice of watermelon
Source: Image by solominphoto from Freepik

It's important to seek medical attention if you notice any unusual vaginal bleeding. Consulting a healthcare provider under such circumstances is essential.

22. Blood in Your Pee

The presence of blood in your urine may be an indication of the existence of bladder or kidney cancer, underscoring the importance of promptly seeking medical assistance in such instances.

Front view man dealing with std
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

It is essential to emphasize that even if the quantity of blood is minimal, medical attention should not be delayed. Moreover, a solitary occurrence of blood in the urine should never be disregarded. 

23. Problems Peeing

Common signs of prostate cancer in men include frequent urination, a weak urine flow, or a necessity to exert pressure while urinating. These symptoms are typical indicators of this disease.

Woman holding hand near toilet bowl - health problem concept
Source: Image by jcomp from Freepik

Should you notice any of these symptoms in you, don't ignore them. It is imperative to consult with a healthcare provider if you're experiencing these symptoms.

24. Persistent Itchy Skin

Persistent itchiness of the skin may be an indicator of various cancers, such as those of the liver, kidney, and thyroid. A constant itch without a clear origin could potentially be a cause for concern.

Woman suffering from rash
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

Therefore, if you're dealing with this symptom, it's important to take it seriously. It's highly advisable to bring up this issue with your physician.

25. Unexplained Fever

A persistent, unexplained fever could potentially indicate the presence of cancer, specifically types like lymphoma, leukemia, or cancers of the kidney and liver. This fever, when it doesn't subside, is a cause for concern.

Hand holding a theromenter mesuring body temperature
Source: Image by xb100 from Freepik

If you're dealing with a continual fever and the cause isn't apparent, it's crucial to take action. It's vital to consult a medical professional under these circumstances.

Share on socials

  • pinterest
  • twitter
  • facebook

About us

Welcome to MedicareWisdoms! We're so glad you're here. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your health and Medicare coverage. Whether you're just starting to explore your options or you're looking for expert advice, we're here to help. Our team of knowledgeable professionals is dedicated to answering your questions and providing you with the resources you need to stay healthy and happy. So, take a look around, explore our site, and discover the wisdom of Medicare. Thank you for choosing MedicareWisdoms!