Common Cancer Signs in Men and Women


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


5 min read


While reading about cancer symptoms, it is prudent to remember that these signs of cancer may or may not be actually caused by cancer. Find out about the situations when you should see an oncologist.

Key Takeaways

  • Symptoms of cancer can be generic, or they can appear on specific body parts
  • Early detection is key for the successful reduction and monitoring of cancer
  • Common cancer symptoms include weight loss, pain, fever, blood loss, and more

Common Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Wondering what are signs of cancer are? Main symptoms cannot be specified, as there are over 200 types of cancers, and accordingly, there are diverse cancer symptoms. If you are wondering what cancer-starting symptoms are, note that they can either be generic, like weight loss, or can become visible in specific areas of your body.

We often associate cancer with lumps. But remember that all lumps are not cancerous, and other crucial signs of cancer are as important as lumps. In addition, cancer also impacts people in different ways. So, if you suspect you have cancer symptoms, getting tested and going for an oncologist consultation if required is prudent.

Here are some of the most common cancer symptoms recorded in medical history:

Rapid weight loss

It is said that half of the patients with cancer suffer from weight loss syndrome. As per data, weight loss is associated with at least ten types of cancer [1]. They include:

  • Biliary tree
  • Renal tract
  • Myeloma
  • Ovarian
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Pancreatic
  • Gastro-esophageal
  • Lung
  • Colorectal
  • Prostate


Among the cancer symptoms, pain is another common occurrence. People having bone cancer may experience pain as one of the cancer's starting symptoms. In addition, some brain tumors can cause prolonged headaches. Pain can also come as a late sign of cancer, so get a doctor's consultation right away to get a proper diagnosis.


Make sure to talk with your doctor if you have a high fever lasting more than three days. Week-long fever is one of the key cancer signs for blood cancers such as lymphoma.

Additional Read: What are Stages of CancerCommon cancer symptoms in men and women


If you are exhausted all the time and sleep is not helping, consult your doctor without fail. It can be related to other cancer signs, such as weight loss. Additionally, blood loss from the stomach, colon cancer, or leukemia may lead to severe fatigue. 

Skin changes

The sudden appearance of new marks, bumps, or moles in your skin can be one of the potential cancer symptoms. However, they do not essentially indicate skin cancer. If your skin turns dark, starts itching and producing rashes, or sprouts excess hair, it can be a sign of lymphoma or cancer in the kidney, ovary, or liver.

Abnormal bleeding

Among cancer symptoms, bleeding is not something uncommon. If blood appears with farces, it can be a potential sign of colon or rectal cancer. A tumors may cause blood flow with urine in your urinary tract.

Additional Read: Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

Unusual cough or hoarseness

If your cough continues for a long time, it can be one of the lung cancer symptoms. Prolonged hoarseness may be caused by cancer in the thyroid gland or voice box (laryngeal cancer). However, severe cough can be caused by other conditions such as flu, COVID-19, and more. Your voice may become hoarse due to inflammation in the larynx, referred to as laryngitis. So, in such situations, it is prudent to get yourself checked on time to know your risk.


Anaemia indicates that your bone marrow is affected and is not producing sufficient red blood cells. It can be caused by cancers such as multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and leukaemia.

Sores that won’t go away

This can be one of the key skin cancer symptoms. These sores may initially become visible as solid red lumps or tiny and smooth lumps. Gradually, these lumps may become bleeding sores or turn crusty, which you must check with your doctor immediately. Such sores may or may not indicate basal cell and squamous cell cancers. Apart from that, sores in your mouth can be a potential sign of oral cancer. People who are into smoking and drinking are at a higher risk.

Common Cancer Symptoms in Men

The most common cancers in men are colon cancer, rectal cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer. Usual cancer symptoms in men are as follows:

Difficulty in urination:

If your prostate is inflamed, it can become extremely difficult to pass urine, or you may have to urinate frequently. In such cases, doctors may recommend an exam to check for enlarged prostate, after which you may have to undergo a blood test (PSA test) for the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Ache, pain or lump in your scrotum:

Doctors may identify these as testicular cancer symptoms. To be assured, they may perform a physical examination, and ask you to undergo blood tests and an ultrasound of your scrotum.

Common Cancer Symptoms infographic

Common Cancer Symptoms in Women

Women are mostly affected by cancers in the colon, rectum, lungs and breast. They may also develop malignancy in the vulva, vagina, cervix, endometrium, or uterus. Here are the common signs of cancer in women:

Trouble eating

Finding it hard to eat is one of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Other cancers can cause symptoms such as indigestion and nausea. However, your appetite pattern may also shift due to other conditions, so consult a doctor if you cannot eat properly for 15 days or longer.

Discharge or bleeding from vagina

Though discharge or bleeding is normal from the vagina, it is normal during menstruation. However, it is important to consult a doctor if you experience it between two periods or after menopause. This can be one of the endometrial cancer symptoms.

Changes in your breast

Breast cancer symptoms are easy to identify, and that's why they can be reduced if detected on time. Do get in touch with your doctor if you observe the following signs in your breast:

  • Sudden changes in size
  • Spots or other changes in your areola region (skin around your nipples)
  • Development of lumps
  • Discharge from nipples

Flatulence, stomach ache and bloating

If you are always feeling gassy and bloated and aren’t able to identify the reason, it can be one of the potential cancer symptoms. Consult your doctor immediately to avoid further risks.


This knowledge of cancer main symptoms makes it convenient to understand when to consult a doctor. However, note that these symptoms may not always be due to cancer. So, it is important to consult your doctor before making any conclusion. But, without delay, you can get a doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health, know your risks, and get started with treatment right away! 

Published on 22 Feb 2023Last updated on 6 Mar 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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