Prescribing Success: Signs & Symptoms of Cancer

Cancer is a daunting thought, but it is important to keep yourself informed and be aware of some possible signs and symptoms that may indicate a serious illness. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer is vital, if diagnosed at an early stage the chances of successful treatment drastically improves. 

Remember, when it comes to your health, you’re in charge. If you spot anything unusual or sudden changes, then visit your doctor. For the majority of cases, it won’t be cancer, but if it is, early detection can make a real difference. If you’re are worried you may have a significant symptom, be honest with your GP so they can support and reassure you. 

Below are the main cancers diagnosed in men and women and the key symptoms you need to be vigilant of.  


Lung, Prostate and Bowel Cancer contributed to 44.4% of all cancers diagnosed in men. Prostate cancer is now the leading cancer diagnosis in the UK.


  • Frequent Urination (Waking up more than once at night to pass urine)
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain 
  • Blood in the urine/semen 
  • Enlarged prostate causing discomfort and pain (For example lower back pain can be a sign of an enlarged prostate) 


Breast, Lung and Bowel and the three most common cancers in women worldwide. Breast cancer alone contributed to 25.4% of the total number of new cases diagnosed.  


  • Notice a Lump or an area of thickened tissue in your breast 
  • A new change in the size or shape of one or both breasts 
  • A discharge of fluid from either of your nipples (not including breastfeeding and pregnant women) 
  • Lump or swelling in either of your armpits that persists for over 7 days
  • Dimpling, persistent rash or itching on the skin of your breasts 
  • Change in the appearance of your nipple (eg, sunken, inverted or itchy rash) 


  • A cough that doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks 
  • Reoccurring chest infections 
  • Coughing up blood 
  • Ache/ Pain when breathing  
  • Persistent breathlessness 
  • Unexplained weight loss 


  • A persistent change in your bowel habits for longer than 4 weeks 
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool 
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort 
  • Unexplained weight loss 

If you notice any symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your local GP. Some of these cancers may have additional risk factors such as age or family history, so speak with your doctor about introducing regular screenings for cancers that you may be at higher risk for.