Warning Signs of Cancer Mnemonic [Cancer Red Flag Signs]


Timely identification of cancer warning signs plays a crucial role in its effective management. The American Cancer Society has devised the CAUTION mnemonic to promptly identify and acknowledge the initial indicators of cancer. However, considering the vastness of medicine, it’s important to note that the presence of one of these signs does not definitively indicate the presence of cancer as various factors come into play.

The CAUTION mnemonic proves to be an invaluable tool for medical professionals, including doctors, medical students, and nurses, in their regular interactions with patients. This medical mnemonic offers a structured approach and a memorable framework that helps in recognizing potential early warning signs of this debilitating illness. For doctors, it streamlines the grueling diagnostic process, enabling them to swiftly assess patients and determine whether further investigations are warranted for the confirmation of diagnosis. Medical students benefit from its overall educational value, as it enhances their ability to grasp and recall essential information about cancer symptoms during med-school exam and hospital ward rounds.

Nurses find it particularly beneficial for their routine patient assessments, allowing them to identify possible indicators of cancer promptly and escalate concerns to the senior medical team. Overall, the CAUTION and FLAWS mnemonic serve as a practical and efficient clinical diagnostic tool, enhancing the ability of healthcare professionals to provide timely and appropriate treatment to patients who may be at risk of cancer.

Mnemonic for Cancer Warning Signs

Alright, so without any further ado, here’s the CAUTION mnemonic for cancer red flag signs:


Letter Early Warning Sign

Change in bowel or bladder habits

GI system

A A sore throat that does not heal

Sore throat

U Unusual bleeding or discharge


T Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere

Breast Lump

I Indigestion or dysphagia


O Obvious change in wart or mole

Wart or Mole


Nagging cough or hoarseness



Another cancer red flag sign mnemonic: 🙂


  • F = Fever
  • L = Lumps & bumps
  • A = Appetite loss
  • W = Weight, any change?
  • S = Sweating at night (a class B symptom, associated with Hodgkin lymphoma and some non-Hodgkin lymphomas)

That’s all, folks. Happy learning all! 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here