The Asymptomatic Phases of Certain Cancers

Doctors and medical researchers urge the public to regularly check themselves and pay attention to changes in their physical well-being. This is because catching cancer at the earliest stage increases the chances of treatment succeeding. However, it isn’t always easy to detect symptoms, especially for certain types of cancers. While some cancers are symptomatic and can be detected at an early stage, other cancers aren’t. This list gives an overview of asymptomatic phases of different cancers and details regarding their diagnosis.

Brain Cancer

Headaches, seizures, and vision changes can easily be misattributed to less severe illnesses, which is why brain cancer can be considered asymptomatic during the early stages. A person may start behaving differently or experiencing changes in cognition but won’t identify these as symptoms of cancer.


Skin cancer can be particularly challenging to identify since changes can be hard to notice without frequent self-examinations. While keeping an eye on moles can help spot early signs of melanoma, they can often be subtle and difficult to see. Mole-mapping is a process where every mole on the body is photographed, measured, and cataloged to be examined at regular intervals in comparison to each mole’s current state. This is a useful method of keeping track of even the smallest changes.

Ovarian Cancer

The noticeable symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as abdominal tenderness, feeling bloated, and urinating more frequently, tend to only occur during the later stages of the disease, making it difficult to diagnose early on. Symptoms can also seem similar to irritable bowel syndrome, a more common ailment that could distract from the true diagnosis.

Lung Cancer

Part of the reason why lung cancer is detected later is due to the early symptoms being easily misconstrued as signs of other illnesses. Specialists such as those at the Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Florida) are trained to identify and treat lung cancer, among other cancers. Coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing are just a few of the symptoms of early-stage lung cancer that can be mistaken for something else.

Thyroid Cancer

Apart from the sensation of a lump in their throat, people with thyroid cancer tend to experience few early symptoms. Unfortunately, other signs such as a sore throat and difficulty swallowing are easily misattributed to common colds, viruses, and influenza.

Breast Cancer

When detected early, breast cancer is highly treatable. However, not everyone who develops this illness will have symptoms. It’s still wise to check for lumps, thickness, discharge, and skin changes to the breast.

Colorectal Cancer

The symptoms of colorectal cancer tend to be easily ignored or misunderstood as signs of other illnesses. Although it’s one of the most common cancers, it’s difficult to detect during the early stages.

Since not all cancers can be detected through noticing symptoms, it’s essential to be highly aware of your own body and how it feels. Take note of any changes in your physical well-being, even if the changes seem irrelevant, as your doctor may find this information useful during tests. Attend regular checkups and make positive lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of developing cancer.