Cancer in its earliest stages rarely has warning signs, so take the steps that will give you an added edge for early detection.

Get regular checkups by your doctor – Often your doctor can find early cancer during a physical exam or with routine tests, even if you have no symptoms. Ask your doctor about your cancer risk, problems to watch for and a schedule of regular checkups.

Ask to be screened for cancer – Research shows that Pap tests (for cervix cancer), mammograms (for breast cancer) and colon cancer tests save lives.

Do regular self-exams – Examining yourself on a regular basis can help you – Check your skin regularly for new growths; sores that don’t heal; changes in the size, shape or colour of moles; or any other changes on your skin. Report these warning signs to your doctor at once.

Look in a mirror to check the inside of your mouth for changes in the colour of your lips, gums, and tongue or inner cheeks. Also look for scabs, cracks, sores, white patches, swelling or bleeding. Have these symptoms checked by a doctor or dentist.

If you are a man, regularly do a testicular self-exam. Report a lump or other changes, such as heaviness, swelling, and unusual tenderness or pain to your doctor.

If you are a woman, do breast self-examination every month. This will help you learn what looks and feels normal for your breasts and will help you notice any changes. Report anything you feel is not normal to your doctor.