How to detect cancer early? 5 Key points of better malignancy cure.

How to identify Cancer early? is one of the most relevant health question in today’s era.

  • In early stages of cancer there are no specific early signs and symptoms of cancer. In >90% times these signs and symptoms are caused by benign causes; the disease which are not cancer. But if it is cancer, detecting it early and treating it early, makes a real big difference.  
  • 1cm or 1g size tumor is the approximate size required for cancer to become visible or palpable and even at this size it has 100 crore cells.
  • Complexity is that there are more than 200 types of signs and symptoms of cancer in women and men, which is practically not possible of identify all times.

Goal of cancer awareness, cancer screening and our article is to increase awareness regarding how not to miss early opportunity to detect cancer, because early detection is considered as best prevention in cancer.

1. Identify unusual/ new changes in body

It is not required to know all 200 types of cancer and their symptoms. More importantly, you should be aware of what is normal for you. Listen to your body and observe for any new change which you feel is different from normal and talk to your doctor when this unusual problem is not improving. This can help to diagnose cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most successful. How serious can be self medication, self diagnosis and self investigation – is highlighted by the fact that there will be high probability of missing an early opportunity of cancer cure if you don’t consult the problem with your doctor.


Anything New


Anything Unusual


Anything not healing

2. Common general signs and symptoms of cancer

  • Appetite loss: Cancer can affect body metabolism, the way your body turns food into energy. Some cancers can also press on stomach or intestine leading to fullness, nausea or vomiting. All these decrease the appetite significantly.
  • Unexplained weight loss: This can be a sign of various cancers, including stomach, pancreatic, and lung cancer. A weight loss of more than 5 kg or > 10% of body weight in 1-2 months is considered as significant and should be evaluated.
  • Fever that doesn’t go away: Some cancers can cause fever by affecting the immune system or producing substances that raise the body temperature. Fever can be an early sign of blood cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma, or solid tumors, such as kidney cancer or liver cancer. Fever can also occur when cancer spreads to other parts of the body. If you have a fever of over 100.5 degrees F that lasts for more than a few days, you should see your doctor.
  • Extreme fatigue/ loss of energy: It can also be a sign of cancer, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss, fever, or night sweats. If you feel exhausted for no apparent reason, you should see your doctor.
  • Persistent pain: Pain that doesn’t go away, especially if it’s worsening or in a new location, could be a sign of cancer.
Changes in Bladder and Bowel habbits


A Sore/ Ulcer that Does Not Heal


Unusual Bleeding or Discharge


Thickening/ Lump in any body part


AdobeStock_570486659-ai Indigestion


Obvious Change in Mole/ Wart


Nagging Cough


Alarmimg early signs of cancer/ malignancy. Should be investigated properly by Oncologist

3.Specific signs and symptoms of cancer

  • Lumps and bumps in the body: A lump or bump are swellings and can be anywhere in the body, breast, testis, neck, limbs or abdomen. Cancer lumps are usually painless and hard and do not move when you touch them. They grow over time and cause symptoms later on. A growing hard lump in breast is an early sign of breast cancer in women.
  • Blood in the stool or urine: Blood in stool is a symptom of cancer in digestive tract, such as colon cancer, stomach cancer. Blood in urine may be because of cancer in urinary tract, such as kidney cancer, bladder cancer. Any amount of blood in stool or urine should be checked by the doctor and should be consulted with cancer doctor if not improving.
  • Bleeding from body organ/ cavity is a very grave symptom that should be investigated properly. Excessive or intermittent bleeding or discharge or spotting is sign of cervix cancer in women. Bleeding can be a symptom of skin cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer etc. 
  • Bowel or bladder changes: This includes persistent changes in bowel habits like diarrhea/ loose motions, constipation or difficulty urinating.
  • Difficulty in swallowing or indigestion: Persistent problems with swallowing or persistent heartburn may warrant investigation. Increasing difficulty in swallowing which initially start with solid foods and increase to solid foods is a warning sign of foodpipe (esophagus) cancer.
  • Cough that doesn’t go away: A persistent cough can be a sign of lung cancer, especially in smoker or who have been exposed to asbestos or radon. If cough lasts longer than two weeks, or associated with blood, consultation should be planned with doctor.
  • Change of voice/ Hoarseness of voice requires prompt examination of head and neck region as it could be a sign or symptom of larynx cancer or lung cancer or oropharynx cancer.
  • Ulcer that is not healing is an important sign that should never be missed. Main reason of oral cancer patients presenting in advance stage is that they tend to ignore initial nonhealing ulcer, take alternative treatment in the hope that it will heal. But an ulcer caused by cancer doesn’t heal by its own.
  • Skin changes: like appearance of a new moles, changes in pre- existing moles could be melanoma. Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) especially after 40 years of age should be evaluated and if it is found to be because of some blockage or obstruction, patient should consult a surgical oncologist near him immediately. Wasting time in medical treatment for obstructive jaundice is harmful and crucial time for cure of rapidly growing tumor is lost.  
  • Brain

    Headache, Weakness on one side, Seizures, Vision Change

  • Thyroid

    lump in neck, Voice Change, Difficult breathing or swallowing

  • Kidney

    blood in the urine, back pain, lump in the abdomen,

  • Pancreas

    Jaundice , Pain abdomen/ back, weight loss, New Diabetes

  • Colorectal

    Persistent Constipation or loose motions, Rectal bleeding, pain, vomiting

  • Bladder

    Blood in Urine, Weakness, Difficulty in passing urine

  • Testicular

    painless lump or swelling in testicle Pain/ discomfort

  • AdobeStock_514433914 (1)-ai


    Lump & Bumps in any part of body, Pain

  • Breast

    lump, shape change, nipple, bleeding, persistent pain

  • Lung

    Cough or Blood in Cough, Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath, Hoarseness

  • Esophagus

    difficulty swallowing, discomfort chest/abdomen, weight loss or tiredness

  • Liver

    Pain, Lump in abdomen, Jaundice, Weight loss

  • AdobeStock_434567907-ai


    Vomiting, Blood in vomiting, Lump in Abdomen, Weakness

  • Ovary

    pain or swelling in abdomen, Urinary problem, Constipation

  • 1


    vaginal bleeding, bleeding after menopause, unusual vaginal discharge, pain

  • Cervix

    Vaginal bleeding, spotting, discharge, Pain in pelvis

4. Avoid Self Diagnosis

These are just potential signs, and mostly commonly many other conditions can cause them which are not cancer. 

  • Do not self-diagnose based on these symptoms alone. While it’s essential to be aware of symptoms, don’t jump to conclusions.
  • If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor for a proper evaluation.
  • Early detection is crucial for successful cancer treatment.

Self-medication, self-diagnosis and self-investigation are dangerous because there will be high probability of missing an early opportunity of cancer cure if you don’t consult the problem with your doctor.


5. Screening for early diagnosis of common cancers

Cancer screening is use of simple tests in healthy population to identify patients who have early disease but don’t have symptoms. Some common screening procedures include:

What are the barriers in early diagnosis and early treatment of cancer?

Early diagnosis and early treatment are best prevention in cancer, still there many barriers in early stage diagnosis of cancer which includes: 

  1. Lack of Cancer Awareness: Despite being 2nd most common cause of disease related mortality, most of population is not aware of early symptoms. Those who understand, try to ignore and consider it as a stigma which is not true.
  2. Underutilization of Cancer screening: Only 2% of population is doing regular cancer specific screening. Understand that cancer screening doesn’t label anyone as having cancer it just tries to identify those individuals who have very small cancer and don’t have any symptoms. Cancer screening is an effort required at individual level. It cannot be forced.
  3. Availability and accessibility
  4. Anxiety/ fear of detecting something new or dangerous.
  5. Delay in referral to oncologist.
Other resources


To Know more about early symptoms of Cancer:

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