Early detection

Early detection of cancer

The early detection of cancer means finding cancer before there are symptoms or as soon as possible after symptoms develop. Its aim is to find the cancer before it has time to spread to other parts of the body. This can be done through screening programmes or by recognising early warning signs.

Early detection can help to lessen the impact and incidence of cancer in our community.

Possible warning signs

When cancer is detected early, people have a much greater chance of being treated successfully. It is important to know your body and to be aware of any changes that are out of the ordinary for you. If you notice something different or unusual for you, please see a health professional as soon as possible to discuss what these changes may mean.

Changes to look out for include:

  • Problems with your ‘water works'
  • Changes in moles or freckles or new moles or skin spots
  • A lump or change in your breast, testicle or elsewhere
  • A cough or hoarseness that won’t go away or coughing up blood
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Changes to a breast or nipple
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Sores or ulcers that don’t heal

It is important to always seek medical advice as soon as you notice any unusual changes.