15 Surprising Signs of Cancer You Need to Know

Stay aware of your body and these unexpected symptoms.

By Kara Ladd, Woman's Day   

Neck and Face Swelling

Lung cancer can cause swelling in the face, neck, arms and upper chest when a tumor is pressing against the vein that goes from the head to the heart. This particular symptom is called superior vena cava obstruction and is commonly caused by cancer.

Bone Pain

Discomfort ranging from a dull aching sensation to shooting pain is a common complaint of patients with bone cancer. As the cancer grows, the irritation will be more consistent and will likely interfere with common movements such as walking or lifting.

Loss of Sensation

You know that tingling sensation when your foot is “falling asleep?” If this feeling continues for an extended period of time, it’s best to consult a medical professional. Lack of sensation in one or more body parts suggests a tumor near the cerebrum, spinal cord, or nerve channels.

Muscle Weakness

We’re all guilty of slacking off at the gym sometimes. However, if you find it difficult to do daily tasks like pick up a large book or get out of bed, this may be a threat of cancer — especially when paired with exhaustion and swelling. For example, lung cancer can spur muscle disorders around the hip area causing balance issues.

Weight Loss

Don’t get us wrong, we are huge proponents of healthy weight loss, but if you see your pant size shrinking without a change in your diet, workout routine, or lifestyle, you may want to second guess the cause. Cancer cells use a bulk of the body’s main energy supply and may even begin to change the way your body creates energy or protein, causing you to loose weight at a rapid pace.


Who doesn’t get a little tired these days? Although, long-term weakness and exhaustion could be more serious than you think. Paired with pain, nausea, or vomiting, could mean cancer or other diseases. Simply be mindful of tumultuous energy patterns.

High Calcium Levels

Hypercalcemia, or high levels of calcium in the blood, is both a sign and a consequence of multiple cancers — ranging from breast cancer to lung cancer. This symptom can be diagnosed through blood tests by your doctor.


Sure, bloating is completely normal every now and then, but paired with other side effects like abdominal pain, trouble eating, or extreme fatigue, it is recommended to consult your doc — especially when these signs are consistent. Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for “that time of the month,” however, it is always better to be safe than sorry as these are common signs of ovarian cancer.

A Lingering Cough

Not only is a persistent cough exhausting and downright annoying, but it can be a serious risk to your health. If your coughing continues for months at a time, it is likely caused by bronchitis, pneumonia, or post-nasal drip, but do bring this to your doctor’s attention as a relentless cough can be a sign of lung cancer.

Stomach Pains

Bellyaches tipped off a number of people to liver tumors, and stomach cramps or frequent upset stomachs may indicate colorectal cancer. Most patients with early stage stomach cancers have no symptoms so “listen” to your body when you feel anything out of the ordinary.

Heart Burn

Frequent heartburn episodes or a consistent dull pains in the chest area after eating can mean esophageal cancer, so always connect with your doctor for a screening to double check.


One of the first signs lung cancer patients remember is the inability to catch their breath or a whistling noise while breathing. Thyroid cancer can also cause breathing problems paired with throat pain.

Painful Periods

Many women reported unusually heavy and painful periods or bleeding between periods (otherwise known as spotting) as the tip-off to endometrial or cervical cancer. Abnormal cycles isn’t out of the norm, but it’s wise not to wait for symptoms to exacerbate if you feel they are interfering with your day-to-day lifestyle.

Sore Chest

This symptom is not to be confused with PMS. In women, breasts that appear red or purplish in color or feel hot, swollen, or irritated can mean inflammatory breast cancer. Mammograms can help diagnose breast cancer, but we recommend being conscious of apparent bodily changes like this.

Swallowing Problems

Difficulty swallowing or eating is commonly associated with esophageal or throat cancer, but can also be one of the first signs of lung cancer. A hoarse voice or a strong pressure in the throat can be an early indicator of thyroid or laryngeal cancer.

See more at: Woman's Day


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Health Magazine: 15 Surprising Signs of Cancer You Need to Know
15 Surprising Signs of Cancer You Need to Know
Health Magazine
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