Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) symptoms
Symptoms of CUP are different for everyone and are related to the area where the secondary cancer is found. Some people have few or no symptoms; others have a range of symptoms that may include:
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, chest or groin
- feeling very tired (fatigue)
- poor appetite and/or feeling sick (nausea)
- unexplained weight loss
- shortness of breath or discomfort in the chest
- pain in the bones, back, head, abdomen or elsewhere
- swelling of the abdomen
- change in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhoea
- yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
Not everyone with the symptoms listed above will have cancer, but see your general practitioner (GP) if you are concerned.
For an overview of what to expect during all stages of your cancer care, visit Optimal Care Pathways – CUP. This is a short guide to what is recommended, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
Podcast for people affected by cancer
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Chris Karapetis, Network Clinical Director (Cancer Services), Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Head, Department of Medical Oncology, and Director, Clinical Research in Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, SA; Dr Amey Aurangabadkar, Radiologist, Illawarra Radiology Group, NSW; Clare Brophy, Consumer; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, NSLHD Supportive and Palliative Care Network, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Prof Wendy Cooper, Senior Staff Specialist, Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, NSW Health Pathology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW; A/Prof Richard Gallagher, Head and Neck Surgeon, Director of Cancer Services and Head and Neck Cancer Services, St Vincent’s Health Network, NSW; Dr Chloe Georgiou, Oncology Research Fellow, Australian Rare Cancer Portal, and Oncology Trials Fellow, Bendigo Health Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Susan Harden, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Justin Hargreaves, Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Bendigo Health Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Prof Linda Mileshkin, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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