During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing concern that people may be staying away from their doctor, for fear of contracting the virus or not wanting to waste their GP’s time.

While cancer is more common as we get older, you can develop cancer at any age. It’s really important to know your body and know the symptoms to look out for.

If you have a new symptom, such as a lump, or a change in your body that hasn’t gone away, don’t put off seeing your doctor.

Most symptoms are due to something less serious than cancer, but if it is cancer, the earlier it is found, the better.

Cancer symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Coughing up blood, or new or changed cough that doesn’t go away
  • A change in bowel or bladder habit, including bleeding
  • Any breast change, including a lump
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • A changing or new mole
  • Persistent unexplained pain
  • New lump or swelling
  • Unexplained weight loss or tiredness.

There are a number of ways you can consult with your health professional. In addition to an initial phone discussion, telehealth methods are now being widely used, as well as in-person appointments.

Your doctor is there to look after your health as usual. Contact them to arrange an appointment.

Cancer Australia also encourages you to continue to participate in the national cancer screening programs for breast, bowel and cervical cancer. Cancer screening can help protect your health through early detection, even if you don’t have any symptoms of the disease. Simple screening tests look for particular changes and early signs of cancer before it has developed or before any symptoms emerge. Visit http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/ for more information.

View Cancer Australia’s Cancer Won’t Wait video.

View video messages from cancer experts and people affected by cancer. 

For information in your language 

For information in your language about cancer and the importance of seeing your doctor if you find a change in your body, visit www.canceraustralia.gov.au/CALD. The languages available are: Arabic (العربية); Chinese, Simplified (简体中文); Chinese, Traditional (繁體中文); Greek (Ελληνικά); Hindi (हिन्दी); Italian (Italiano); Korean (한국어); Spanish (Español); Tagalog (Tagalog); Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt).