Signs & Symptoms of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancers. In Hawaii, four cancer sites, including lung/bronchus, colon/rectum, breast, and prostate account for over half the cancer burden. The signs and symptoms of cancer can vary depending upon the location of the cancer, it’s size, and its impact upon the organ or tissue. A metastatic cancer may present diffusely, with signs and symptoms in many parts of the body. A cancer may begin producing signs and symptoms even at an early stage, or may be undetected until it is quite large and pushing on organs and nerves. Some cancers, unfortunately, aren’t detected until they they have already spread.

When cancers cause symptoms, they are often non-specific. For example, cancers may cause fever, tiredness, or loss of weight. These symptoms may be difficult to narrow down. Therefore, the best way to prevent cancer is through routine screening. Screening increases the likelihood of early detection, and may catch cancers that haven’t become symptomatic or begun to spread, thereby increasing the rates of successful treatment.



American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Cancer. Retrieved September 19, 2012.