1. Unexplained weight loss. Unless you've developed an overactive thyroid, weight loss of without decrease in food or increase in exercise of 10 percent or more in one month is a sign of many cancers.
2. Bloating. Bloating is a sign of eating too much, especially fast food that is loaded with salt. But abdominal bloating that lasts for weeks, along with a feeling of fullness can be a sign of ovarian cancer. If you also have abdominal pain, you may have advanced ovarian cancer.
3. Breast changes. If you have nipple changes or discharge, thickening and redness of the skin, dimpling of the breasts, or lumps, you may have breast cancer.
4. Unusual bleeding or in the wrong place. Bleeding between menstrual cycles or having shorter cycles when you are in your teens or going through menopause is normal. Bleeding between menstrual cycles, when you have no history of irregular cycles or spotting, and bleeding AFTER menopause can be signs of endometrial cancer. Bleeding from the rectum or finding fresh (red) blood in the stool can be signs of straining from constipation or hemorrhoids or can be signs of colorectal or colon cancers. Don't assume it's just hemorrhoids or constipation. If you are frequently constipated, add fiber to your diet. Bowel movements of less than one or two per day is not normal. Coughing up blood is a very serious sign and should be checked immediately, if not sooner. Many cancers (esophagus, mouth, and stomach) start with coughing up blood.
5. Skin changes. Changes in moles (size, color, or growth), changes in skin pigmentation, and sores that don't heal (anywhere on the body) are signs of skin cancer. Yellowing of the skin or jaundice is a sign of liver cancer or hemolytic-anemia.
6. Swollen lymph nodes. Lymph nodes that become swollen and never decrease in size, increase in size, or harden should be checked. This could be a sign of cancer or an infection your body is having difficulty fighting.
7. Persistent pain. All persistent pain in the body can be an early sign of cancer. Abdominal pain is particularly worrisome, especially accompanied by depression. This could be a sign of pancreatic cancer.
8. Indigestion or difficulty swallowing. Difficulty swallowing may be a sign of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) or esophageal cancer. Difficulty swallowing is not a normal change that comes with aging. Unexplained indigestion (upset stomach, intestinal pain) can be a sign of GERD or an early sign of many cancers including (but not limited to) esophagus, stomach, intestinal, and pancreatic cancers. GERD increases your risk of esophagus cancer so it should also be addressed in a timely manner.
9. Fever and chills. Persistent or recurrent fevers that cannot be explained by influenza or colds, can be a sign of leukemia or lymphoma.
10. Weakness or fatigue. If you are tired all the time and have ruled out outside factors such as lack of sleep, drinking, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies, then fatigue could be a sign of cancer.
11. Prolonged cough or hoarseness. Cough lasting more than a month should be checked even if you smoke. Persistent coughs can also be caused by allergies and medications so should be ruled out. Hoarseness without cough that lasts should also be checked, especially if you are not a smoker. This could be a sign of throat or mouth cancers.
12. Swelling of facial features. Swelling, puffiness, or redness in the face can be a sign of lung cancer due to tumors blocking blood vessels preventing blood from flowing freely.