Checking for signs of a new cancer

It’s important to know what is normal for you. If you notice any unusual changes in your body or have any concerns, see your GP as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your next scheduled check-up.

The main signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • a lump, sore or ulcer that doesn’t heal
  • a mole that bleeds or has changed shape, size or colour
  • a cough or hoarseness that doesn’t go away, or a cough that produces blood
  • a change in bowel habits (e.g. diarrhoea or constipation that lasts for more than a few weeks)
  • urinary problems or changes
  • unusual changes in your breasts or testicles
  • abdominal pain or bloating that doesn’t go away
  • abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • unexplained changes in your general health, such as weight loss, loss of appetite and loss of energy (fatigue).

To help detect cancer early, free national screening programs are available for breast (women aged 50–74), cervical (women aged 25–74) and bowel (men and women aged 50–74) cancers. For more on this, talk to your doctor, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or visit

      — Sam

This information was last reviewed in April 2018
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