Listen to Your Body:

Watch for Signs & Symptoms of Cancer

Body Talk

Since the start of COVID-19, Alberta has seen a continuing decrease in the number of new cancer being diagnosed. This change is similar across Canada and the world. Before the pandemic, approximately 2,000 Albertans were diagnosed with cancer each month. During the pandemic, there are approximately 20% fewer diagnoses no matter where people live or their age. This means approximately 500 people each month are not being diagnosed. Why wait to seek medical attention when you need it? Detecting and managing cancer early saves lives.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, your healthcare provider wants to ensure you are taking care of your health, and wants to see you, especially if you notice changes in your health or changes in your body.

Health care facilities have put extra cleaning and distancing protocols in place to continue to keep you safe during your visit and the healthcare system has been and continues to be open to help, including to diagnose and manage cancer.

Seeking advice and care from your healthcare provider is important for all aspects of your health, particularly for potentially life-threatening diseases that can be avoided by early diagnosis such as cancer.

If you have any unexplained, new, worsening or persistent changes, seek care from your family doctor, or primary care provider. Symptoms are often caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but it is important to see your family doctor so they can investigate.


There are symptoms you can look for, and if you experience any of them, book an appointment with your family doctor immediately. Examples of these include:

  • An unusual or growing lump
  • Blood in your stool, urine, or phlegm, especially if persistent or associated with other symptoms related to your bowels (pain, constipation), urination (pain, frequency, poor stream), or breathing (worse cough or shortness of breath). Also, unusual bleeding from vagina, especially in postmenopausal women.
  • Any changes to a mole
  • Trouble urinating for men, such as needing to pee right away, more often, with difficulty or pain.
  • Unexplained significant weight loss (>10%)

For a full list of symptoms view Symptoms of Cancer,

If your family doctor suspects cancer, they will refer you for testing, such as imaging or biopsy and possibly to a specialist to plan any necessary treatment. Diagnosis at earlier stages can offer more treatment options and increase your chance of completing treatments that prolong or improve quality of life.

If you need help finding a family doctor, visit Or call Health Link at 811.

Quick Reference

Alberta Health Services

Alberta Cancer Foundation

Canadian Cancer Society

Government of Alberta

Government of Canada

Question or Health Concern?

Call Health Link at 811. Learn more.