Cancer is the second leading cause of death around the world, with around 14 million new cases diagnosed each year.
But cancer caught at an early stage does not kill you, according to Cancer Research UK.
In the UK, more than 50 per cent of people diagnosed live for more than five years, and in some cancers the survival rate stands at 90 per cent.
This is why knowing the early warning signs of cancer could help you spot it sooner rather than later.
In some types, there are no symptoms, but for the majority of cancer forms there are changes that could lead to a diagnosis and effective treatment.
Here are the five early signs to be aware of:
For some sufferers unexpected weight loss may be the first sign of the condition.
It could be a reaction of healthy cells in your body to being attacked by cancer cells.
This may be as much as ten pounds or around 4.5kg, according to the American Cancer Society.
Changes in weight could point to cancers of the oesophagus, lung, pancreas and stomach.
Changes on the skin may not just indicate skin cancer, but also breast cancer or oral cancer depending on where they appear.
Cancer could also trigger increased hair growth, dark spots, yellowing eyes and skin or redness.
This is the body’s natural response to infection or illness, and may be an early alert for something more serious.
In sufferers it is usually a sign that the cancer has spread to a new area and might be affecting the immune system.
It could be an early sign of a blood cancer, like leukaemia or lymphoma.
Feeling unexpectedly tired is also one of the most common early signs of cancer.
This is tiredness to the extent that even getting adequate sleep doesn’t make it go away.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is often a symptom of leukaemia, but severe fatigue could also be an indicator of cancers of the colon, prostate, ovaries and rectum.
Coughing is the body’s way of getting rid of unwanted substances, and is a sign of colds, allergies and flu.
However, it could also be an early sign of cancer, such as lung cancer.
It may gradually develop from a standard cough to become more frequent, hoarse, and coughing up blood.
If you are concerned by anything regarding your health you should seek advice from your GP as soon as possible. Visit Cancer Research UK for more information.