The early signs of cancer in people of all ages that mean you should get checked immediately

By Michelle Cullen

Almost 45,000 people in Ireland get cancer each year, so it's important to know what signs to watch out for to ensure you can live a happy and healthy life.

The incidence of cancer in Ireland is growing, but more people are surviving cancer than ever before.

Here are 10 early signs of cancer that could save your life:

Early signs of cancer

1. New lumps or growths on your skin.

It is important to check your whole body for lumps or swelling and growths on the skin.

2. A sore or bruise that does not heal.

If a spot, wart or sore doesn't heal in a few weeks, get it checked by your GP, even if it is painless.

3. A mole that changes in shape, size or colour or bleeds in unusual circumstances.

If you notice that a mole has changed shape or colour, you should see your doctor.

Skin cancer check-up (cancer.ie)

4. An ongoing cough or hoarseness that lasts longer than three weeks.

If you are a smoker, you should take extra care.

5. Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.

It is not normal to have indigestion or heartburn that occurs frequently or causes a lot of pain. Difficulty swallowing is also not normal and should be checked by a doctor.

6. A change in bowel or bladder habits for no good reason.

Talk to your doctor if you have constipation, diarrhoea, or problems passing urine for more than a few weeks.

7. Shortness of breath.

If you are experiencing frequent shortness of breath, see your doctor.

8. Loss of appetite.

If you suddenly feel as though you have no want for food and the feeling persists, see your doctor.

9. Unexplained weight loss or tiredness.

It is normal to see a slight change in weight over time. However, big weight loss not related to dieting may be a sign of something more serious.

10. Blood anywhere it normally should not be – in urine, bowel motions, or from spitting.

If you cough up blood or notice it after going to the toilet, contact your doctor.

Tell your doctor if you have noticed any of the above symptoms, even if you are not concerned.

Chances are it is nothing to worry about, but it is better to play it safe.


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