Signs and symptoms of CUP

Symptoms of CUP will vary depending on where the secondary cancer (or cancers) are in the body. Here are some examples:

  • You may have a cough that doesn’t go away or breathlessness. You may have fluid collecting around the lungs, called a pleural effusion. These can be symptoms of secondary cancer in the lung.
  • You may have a dull, persistent pain in the bone, such as the spine, that’s often worse at night. Sometimes if a bone is weakened by cancer, it will break (fracture). These can be symptoms of secondary cancer in the bone.
  • You may have a swelling and discomfort in the tummy (abdomen). You may feel sick and lose your appetite, feel full quickly when eating or have yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). You may have a collection of fluid in the tummy, called ascites. These can be symptoms of secondary cancer in the liver.
  • Your lymph nodes (glands) may be swollen and feel hard. They may be painful if they are pressing on tissue or nerves nearby. These can be symptoms of secondary cancer in the lymph nodes. There are lymph nodes throughout your body.

General symptoms

You may have some general symptoms, including:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling extremely tired all the time
  • looking pale, and feeling tired and breathless, due to a lack of red blood cells (anaemia).

All the symptoms mentioned here can be caused by conditions other than cancer, but it’s important to see your doctor and get them checked.

Back to Understanding

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease of our cells. Sometimes cells become abnormal and keep dividing to make more abnormal cells.

Types of CUP

Doctors may be able to find out the type of cell the cancer started in. This can help them decide on the best treatment.