For most cancer types, finding it early means treatment has a better chance of success. Some cancers—such as breast, cervix and bowel—have screening programs to find cancer early but others do not. For most cancers, it is important to be aware of what is normal for you and to see your doctor if you notice any unusual changes or have any concerns.
See your doctor if you notice changes like:
- a new lump or thickening in any part of your body
- a sore that does not heal
- unusual breast changes e.g. lumps, lumpiness, a thickened area, unusual nipple discharge, a nipple that turns inwards (if it hasn’t always been that way), a change in shape or colour, an unusual pain or a change in skin texture
- a spot or mole that is new or has changed in shape, size, colour or bleeds
- unusual bleeding or discharge
- any vaginal bleeding after menopause
- persistent indigestion or difficulty swallowing
- any changes in your bowel habits e.g. diarrhoea, constipation or blood in the bowel action
- any unexpected weight loss
- coughing, hoarseness or a sore throat that doesn’t go away
These signs don’t mean you have cancer, but it is important to have them checked by your local doctor. Cancer Council SA provides information on early detection through Cancer Council 13 11 20.