Think you have cancer?

If you think you might have cancer there is a lot of information here that may answer your questions.

The following are the five most common signs of cancer in young people. To be of concern, these symptoms must always be PERSISTENT and UNEXPLAINED.

Please remember that cancer in young people is very rare and the following could also be signs of other, everyday illnesses.

Warning signs

  • An unexplained lump, bump or swelling that remains for a period of weeks. These can appear anywhere on or in your body.

  • Pain that doesn't go away with painkillers. The pain can be experienced anywhere in or on your body. Remember that to be of concern the pain should be persistent and unexplained.

  • Significant weight loss

  • Extreme tiredness. Another way of saying this is 'chronic fatigue.' This doesn’t mean struggling to get out of bed on a school/work day, it means absolute exhaustion that doesn’t go away.

  • Changes in a mole. The key changes to be aware of are itching, bleeding, change in shape, colour, asymmetry and blurred or jagged edges.

Other signs that are less common in young people but may be found in people experiencing cancer of any age group are:

  • Abnormal bleeding; particularly from the vagina or back passage but also in urine or when vomiting
  • A persistent cough or hoarseness
  • Changes to skin other than difference in a mole; this can be cuts that wont heal, the appearance of ulcers or sores that don’t go away, itchiness or bleeding
  • A change in bowel habit that is persistent or unexplained

The most important thing that you can do is know your body. Any persistent or unexplained signs should be described to a doctor. If it helps, write down your signs before you go. If symptoms don’t go away after treatment by your doctor, go back to the doctor’s office and explain what you are experiencing again. You are never wasting your doctor’s time.

Find out more about the signs on our Action Week page.

Talking to health professionals

What to expect when talking to doctors and nurses.More about Talking to health professionals

Preparing to see your doctor

If you are worried about your health and plan to go and see your doctor, running through these questions in advance may help you feel better prepared.

Thinking this information through beforehand will also mean you can provide useful information for your doctor. You can even print off a copy of the form and give it to your doctor when you see them.

Who to speak to?

Thinking you might have cancer is tough but it’s really important to remember that you don’t need to go through it on your own.More about Who to speak to?

Find Your Sense of Tumour

This conference gives young people who have had cancer a chance to share their experiences with people their own age who've had similar experiences.


Young people share their experiences through video diaries, short films, music and animation. Also check out regular broadcasts, Find Your Sense of Tumour footage and more...


Medikidz comic books

Medikidz is the world's first medical education provider exclusively for young people. Check out the range of comic books about Leukaemia, Brain Tumours and more...