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Cancer symptoms: Three signs that could be mistaken for something less serious this winter

Tom Parker discusses cancer treatment and rehabilitation

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When you think about falling ill from a virus, your mind might visualise being tired, feeling joint pain and coughing. However, these three signs could be signalling more serious conditions than the common cold or flu.


Tiredness, also known as fatigue, is a common symptom linked to many viruses.

At this time of year, many might feel tired due to many reasons, including catching a bug.

Cancer symptoms can be various as they usually depend on the area affected.

But there are also some more general symptoms with one being fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic.

READ MORE: Diabetes: Two signs when you go to the toilet you have high blood sugar – symptoms

Cleveland Clinic describes cancer-related fatigue as “beyond the usual tiredness”.

The clinic also reports that cancer patients often describe this tiredness as “paralysing.”

As tiredness is a more general symptom, it’s not linked to a specific type of cancer and can be a sign of any type.


Cough is another symptom very common during the winter period.

This sign also belongs to the group of general cancer signs, as reported by Mayo Clinic.

Cancer cough is persistent and can be accompanied by trouble breathing.

If it doesn’t go away after two or three weeks and after trying treatment, it could be signalling lung cancer.

According to the NHS, other symptoms linked to cough signalling this type of cancer are:

  • Long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Coughing up blood
  • Ache or pain when coughing or breathing.

If you experience any symptoms like these, you should speak to your GP, the health body recommends.

Joint pain

The last sign common during winter is associated with dropping temperatures – joint pain.

The Mayo Clinic explains that persistent joint pain that you can’t explain can also be a cancer symptom.

Joint pain can be found in many parts of the body including hands, feet, knees, hips, shoulders, lower back, spine and other areas.

This sign is associated with many different types of cancer, especially the types located near or inside of joints.

But cancer can also spread to the bones later on.

Some prominent types of cancer, characterised by joint pain, are bone, lung, breast and prostate cancer, according to Cancer.Net.

If any of these three signs start troubling you, speak to a doctor first, as many of these symptoms are not only cancer specific.

They could also indicate less serious problems that can be easily treated.

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