CAUTION AND ACTION – 7 Warning Signals of Cancer


Recently I participated in a meeting of Cancer NGOs ‘Can India Conclave’.  There was a panel discussion conducted by Sanjay Pugalia of IBN 7.   I was asked to make the final comments on how to tackle the oncoming ‘Cancer Tsunami’ .  First of all let me assure you that it is not a  tsunami, a national disaster of high magnitude.  The increase in cancer incidence is the price we pay for development. As the lifespan and longevity increase, communicable diseases decrease, non-communicable disease like diabetes, cardiac disease and cancer will take the forefront.  We will have to obviously change our strategy, as earlier the focus of healthcare was mostly on controlling diarrheas and dysenteries and now it has to shift to control of diabetes, cancer and cardiac diseases, a similar lifestyle related issues. 

I asked the learned audience a simple question – how many  know the 7 warning signals of cancer ? Very few hands went up. That only shows our own lack of important knowledge.  The only thing I can stress is that every NGO, every work place and every organization should just get this simple message across. 7 warning signals of Cancer. 

It is not just enough to have the warning signals but we also need to act on them.   CAUTION is the acronym developed by American Cancer Society to list the 7 warning signals. I strongly advise that every point in CAUTION has to be followed by an ACTION. 

Here are the CAUTION  and ACTION  on the 7 warning signals of cancer. 


Symptom or Sign

Action to be taken

C hange in bowel or bladder habits

Ultrasononograhy and endoscopy

A sore that does not heal

Biopsy and oral and skin examination

nusual bleeding or discharge in stool

U nusual bleeding in between periods


Rectal exam and colonoscopy

Gynaec examination for cervix and biopsy

hickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere


Ultrasonography and FNAC if abnormal

ndigestion or difficulty swallowing



bvious change in the size of mole, or mouth sore



agging cough or hoarseness


ENT examination and X ray chest


With this information I am sure many can benefit by early diagnosis.  I must emphasize that these symptoms may not mean cancer, may be something which is much less risky.  But when there is a symptom it is best to get checked and be reassured that there is no  malignancy. Early diagnosis has a high potential for cure and should not be missed.

 So  make note of these warning signals and the actions to be taken and pass it on to as many people as you can.

That is the best way to beat the Big C. Many lives can be saved.


7 thoughts on “CAUTION AND ACTION – 7 Warning Signals of Cancer

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