Signs to watch for
You know that saying ‘ignorance is bliss’? Forget it. If you have any of the symptoms below – and especially if they last for a while and you can’t explain them – get them checked out by a doctor. Don’t panic though – none of these are only caused by cancer.
- Pain that doesn’t go away quickly when you take painkillers
- Lumps, bumps and swellings
- Sudden weight loss when you’re not dieting, stressed or exercising hard
- Feeling completely exhausted, all of the time
- Changes to moles – their size or colour, or if they start bleeding
- Headaches or dizziness that won’t go away
- Getting out of breath more easily than normal
- Bleeding you can’t explain – for instance in your urine or poo, after sex, between periods, or if you vomit
- Unexplained bruising
- Ongoing changes when you go for a poo – like constipation or diarrhoea (or both), pain, or feeling like you’ve not quite finished going
- Sweating a lot at night.
What to ask your doctor
Your doctor will want to know as much as possible about what’s going on, but it’s easy to forget things – so it’s worth writing everything down before your appointment. Think about:
- What problems you’re having
- How long you’ve had them
- Whether the problems are permanent or come and go
- Whether they are getting worse.
And if you do get home and realise you’ve forgotten something, it’s important to book another appointment or arrange to speak to your doctor over the phone. You’re never wasting your doctor’s time.