Cancer Symptoms Vary Widely

Cancer symptoms vary depending on the type, location, and severity of the disease. In many cases, these warning signs don’t develop until the tumors have become large enough to place pressure on the surrounding organs or otherwise interfere with the body’s normal function. Cancer can cause all kind of symptoms, and those signs can be caused by the original tumor or by metastases (growth into other areas of the body). In general, if unusual changes in a person’s health have a readily known cause (such as a cold or flu) or show signs of improvement on their own or when treated by a physician, they’re probably not caused by a form of cancer. However, if symptoms have no immediately apparent cause, are worsening, or haven’t gotten better over time, it’s wise to visit an oncologist for further testing. It should be noted that the presence of one or more of the following conditions does not necessarily mean that someone has cancer. However, these symptoms should be investigated by a physician:

  • Unexplained pain – This isn’t a typical symptom for most early-stage cancers, but it may occur when a cancer has metastasized beyond its original tissue.
  • Fatigue – Feeling persistently tired, even with sufficient rest, can be a sign of cancer, particularly with cancers that lower the number of blood cells in the bloodstream.
  • Unexplained weight loss – Losing 10 pounds or more without a change in diet or activity or another known cause may indicate a cancer, particularly forms that attack the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, or lungs.
  • A lump or thickened skin on the breast or other areas of the body – Any newly discovered lump or one that is changing in size should be examined by a physician to rule out the presence of cancer.
  • Any unusual bleeding – The symptoms of certain types of cancer can include coughing up blood, the presence of blood in the urine or stool, and other forms of abnormal bleeding.
  • Sores that don’t heal – Sores that bleed but never heal, and warts or moles that suddenly change in appearance may be symptoms of skin cancer and should be examined.

In short, people should notify their physician about any potential cancer symptoms immediately. In the rare case that symptoms are indicative of cancer, early diagnosis can improve treatment options.

For people who have been diagnosed with any type of cancer, Tampa General Hospital can provide all the diagnostic and treatment services they need. Our facility houses a team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, and other medical professionals who are specialists in addressing cancer. With advanced technology, we can provide precise diagnostic imaging services, accurate and highly individualized treatments, such as minimally invasive surgical interventions, and even supportive care services to help alleviate side effects.

For a physician referral or to schedule an appointment, please call (813) 844-2200.