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Cancer symptoms

Cancer has numerous symptoms. It may be asymptomatic for a long time or it may involve only very general symptoms, such as fatigue or weight loss.

Symptoms usually worsen as time passes

But they can vary substantially. Many types of cancer develop slowly over years.  The spread of the disease also affects the symptoms you have.

Many cancer symptoms resemble those of other illnesses, and it may be that you don’t have any symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease. In most cases it takes years before a cancer becomes big enough to be noticed by palpation.

Cancer symptoms can include:

  • A lump or sore that does not heal (including in the mouth)
  • A mole that changes in form, size or pigmentation
  • Change or damage to the skin that has not been present before and which increases
  • Bloody vomit, stool or urine, or a cough producing blood
  • Persistent cough
  • Prolonged sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in bowel movement or urination
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • Pain
  • Yellowing of complexion

Read more about cancer

Facts about cancer

One in three people in Finland will develop cancer at some point during their lifetime. Every year, about 30 000 people are diagnosed with cancer. But two thirds of them recover from the disease. These pages contain basic information about how cancer develops, cancer research, and different cancers and their symptoms.

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What is cancer?

Cancer is a general term for a large group of diseases, whose causes, characteristics and occurrence can vary greatly. There is no completely clear-cut definition of cancer. Cancer is particularly a disease of older people. Due to population ageing, we have seen an increase in cancer incidence.

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Detecting cancer

Detecting cancer is a multi-stage process. Often, the patient will go to a doctor because of some symptom or other. Sometimes cancer is discovered by chance or from screening. The final cancer diagnosis is based on a pathologist’s opinion.

Read article