Signs & Symptoms of Cancer in Young Adults

Learn about Mary's battle with cancer, as she was honored before Hockey Fights Cancer 2021.

When you’re in your 20s and 30s, it seems as though your entire life is in front of you. But what if you're experiencing frequent headaches with vision changes, you’re losing weight inexplicably, or you notice spontaneous bruising or a strange lump or swelling?

Unfortunately, cancer can touch anyone, even someone your age. Although many times it’s not cancer, you need to have it ruled out by a provider who’s experienced in cancer detection.

Symptoms questionnaire for young adults

Warning signs to get checked out

  • An unusual lump or swelling
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Sudden changes in vision, hearing, speech, mood, memory or balance
  • Persistent daily headaches
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Ongoing pain, tingling or numbness
  • Frequent infections and fever
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss
  • Any blood in your stool or urine
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (breakthrough bleeding, unusual flow)
  • Any new lump or change in breast tissue
  • A new mole or unusual spot on your skin, or a mole that’s changing in size, shape or color
  • Persistent night-time sweating requiring you to change your clothes
  • Painful lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
  • Unexplained or persistent itching

How do I know I’m not overreacting?

You won’t. And that’s ok. While any of the symptoms above can be an early sign of cancer, it’s more likely that it’s not cancer. But you need to get checked out to know for sure. Whatever is causing the symptom needs an accurate diagnosis — and resolution. Unfortunately, too many young adults with cancer today did have symptoms that were not adequately investigated, and as a result their disease had an opportunity to spread, making treatment and cure more difficult.

Don’t have a regular healthcare provider?

Perhaps you just moved here, changed jobs, or simply haven’t needed a physician since you aged out of the pediatrician’s office. Or, the first available appointment with your primary physician is months away.

Don’t wait. We can help discern what needs to be checked out, get you evaluated by appropriate providers and order the right tests to get you the answers you need fast. If you’re worried about something, listen to your body and ask for help.

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