The 20 Most Ignored Cancer Symptoms in Women and Men


After heart disease, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. According to Medical News Today, detecting and treating your cancer early on can improve your outlook. The signs of some cancers, however, can be subtle and easy to miss. Here are the most commonly ignored signs of cancer in both men and women.

1. Bone Pain

Whether it’s a shooting pain or a dull aching sensation, any indication of bone pain could be a sign of bone cancer. You may also experience swelling or fractures, the American Cancer Society reports.

2. Body Rash

Rashes can indicate all kinds of health conditions, like infections or allergic reactions. They can also be a sign of leukemia, which is cancer of the blood. According to Medical News Today, abnormal blood cells disrupt the production of platelets, which normally block and burst capillaries from leaking in the skin. As a result, those with leukemia may see tiny red, purple, or brown spots called petechiae on the skin.

3. Eye Pain

According to the NHS, pain in or around the eyes can be a sign of eye cancer, as is seeing shadows and flashes of light, blurred vision, or vision loss.

4. Frequent Headaches

We all get a headache here an there, but if you notice any unusual new patterns of headaches or growth in severity, Mayo Clinic says this could be a sign of a brain tumor.

5. Heartburn

Frequent episodes of heartburn or a constant low-level feeling of pain in the chest after eating could be signs of esophageal cancer or stomach cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

6. Painful Periods

Many women reported unusually heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods as the tip-off to endometrial cancer, Mayo Clinic reports.

7. Nipple Changes

One of the most common changes women notice before a breast cancer diagnosis is a nipple that began to appear flattened, inverted or turned sideways.

8. Sore Breasts

In women, breasts that appear red or purplish in color or feel hot, swollen, or irritated can signal inflammatory breast cancer, according to the National Institute of Health.

9. Testicular Swelling

If you’re experiencing any usual changes of the testicles, such as swelling, then you should pay a visit to your doctor. According to Medical News Today, enlarged or swollen testicles can signal testicle cancer in men, which can be coupled with or without pain.

10. Difficulty Swallowing


Difficulty swallowing is most commonly associated with throat cancer, but could also be one of the first signs of lung cancer, Everyday Health reports. A hoarse voice or feeling pressure on the throat could also be an early indicator of thyroid cancer.

11. Unexplained Weight Loss

If you’re shedding weight and haven’t made any changes to your diet or exercise plans, colon and other stomach cancer could be the culprit, according to Healthline.

12. Upset Stomach

We all have the occasional upset stomach, but severe cramping or abdominal pain may indicate colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society reports.

13. Wheezing

According to Healthline, one of the first signs of lung cancer patients is wheezing, or the inability to catch your breath. Thyroid cancer could also lead to difficulty breathing.

14. Excess Gas or Bloating

Excessive gas or bloating could signal a number of digestive conditions, as well as ovarian and colon cancers, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

15. Bowel Problems

If you’re experiencing constipation, diarrhea, and changes in your stool that lasts more than a couple of days, then you should talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society reports.

16. Difficulty Urinating

An early sign of prostate cancer is difficulty urinating or being unable to go despite having the urge, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Many men also report having a hard time stopping the flow of urine.

17. Erection Problems

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America notes that, as prostate cancer progresses, a common sign in men is difficulty getting or sustaining an erection during sex.

18. Fatigue

Sleepiness could mean a number of things, like not getting your recommended seven to eight hours. But fatigue is slightly different and represents extreme tiredness or weakness. Many cancers can cause fatigue, such as leukemia.

19. Fever

According to Cleveland Clinic, frequent high temperatures can be a sign of leukemia, which causes bone marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells and impacts the body’s infection-fighting abilities.

20. Fingernail Mark

A brown or black streak or dot under a fingernail could signal a type of melanoma called subungual melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer that occurs under the nails.


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