Cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Possible signs of cancer include the following:
When these or other symptoms occur, they are not always caused by cancer. They can also be caused by infections, benign tumors or other problems. It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms or about other physical changes. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis. A person with these or other symptoms should not wait to feel pain; early cancer does not usually cause pain.
If symptoms occur, a doctor may order various tests and may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy is usually the most reliable way to know whether a medical problem is cancer. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a sample of tissue from the abnormal area. A pathologist studies the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells.