Top eight cancer signs pinpointed

The eight unexplained symptoms most closely linked to cancer have been highlighted by researchers at Keele University.

The team also points to the age at which patients should be most concerned by the symptoms, which include blood in urine and anaemia. The other symptoms are: rectal blood, coughing up blood, breast lump or mass, difficulty swallowing, post-menopausal bleeding and abnormal prostate tests. 

The researchers were looking for symptoms which gave a one in 20 or higher chance of turning out to be cancer. Although this still represents a relatively low chance of anyone with the symptom having the disease, any suspicion of cancer can mean that the patient is sent for tests more quickly, in order to catch the disease as early as possible.  

Dr Mark Shapley, who led the research, said: “GPs should audit their management and reflect upon these cases as part of their appraisal to improve quality of care.  

The Signs

  • Anaemia
  • Blood in urine
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Breast lump or mass
  • Post-menopausal bleeding
  • Abnormal prostate test
  • Rectal blood

Professor Amanda Howe, honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “It’s useful to see these well-known ‘red flag’ symptoms and signs validated in primary care research, and reinforces the importance of encouraging patients to discuss worrying symptoms early with their GP.”  

However, a spokesman for Cancer Research UK said that these were by no means the only potential warning signs for cancer. “The particular symptoms this study has highlighted are already thought of as important potential signs of cancer, but there are more than 200 different types of cancer, which cause many different symptoms. So if you notice an unusual or persistent change in your body it’s important to get it checked out. When cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is often more likely to be successful.”  

 Source: BBC NEWS Health