Cancer symptoms: The coronavirus symptom that could signal cancer

Cancer comes in more than 200 different forms so the symptoms associated with the disease are wide-ranging. This often presents a problem for diagnosis – people often attribute the warning signs to other conditions, a miscalculation that can make treatment less effective in the long run. The risk of overlooking cancer is greater amid the current climate, where all eyes are focussed on COVID-19, a deadly new strain of virus.


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Why? A commonly reported symptom of COVID-19 is also a common symptom of cancer.

According to the NHS, a high body temperature is one of the main warning signs of COVID-19.

But, as Cancer Research UK point out, experiencing a high body temperature can also signal kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK.

As Cancer Research UK explains, it’s not really understood why certain cancers cause fevers and others don’t.

“It’s thought that some cancers may produce things like toxins that cause fever,” says the charity.

Are there any specific characteristics that can help to distinguish fever caused by cancer?

According to the health site, fever caused by your cancer might come on in cycles.

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It explains: “This means your temperature rises at the same time each day. You may have days or weeks when you don’t have a temperature and then the fever starts again.”

Other symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Blood in your urine – you may notice your pee is darker than usual or reddish in colour
  • A persistent pain in your lower back or side, just below your ribs
  • A lump or swelling in your side (although kidney cancer is often too small to feel)

While it is important to be extra vigilant at the moment and look out for potential coronavirus symptoms, it is especially important to not rule out a fever as being a sign of kidney cancer.

As the NHS points out, kidney cancer can often be cured if it’s found early.


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“But a cure will probably not be possible if it’s diagnosed after it has spread beyond the kidney,” it warns.

The link between cancer and coronavirus

While symptoms of cancer can be confused with those associated with the coronavirus, another link is that cancer could heighten your risk of developing complications from the pathogen.

Cancer Research UK explains: “The immune system protects the body against illness and infection caused by viruses like coronavirus.

“Some people with cancer have a weak immune system which reduces their ability to fight these infections.”

The charity continues: “This is because some treatments, like chemotherapy, can stop the bone marrow from making enough white blood cells. White blood cells are part of your immune system.”

According to the health site, some types of cancer can also lower your ability to fight infection.

“This is usually cancer that affects your immune system like leukaemia or lymphoma,” the health body says.

You should contact your cancer advice line, chemotherapy helpline or Acute Oncology Service if you have coronavirus symptoms and you are having cancer treatment or have cancer that affects your immune system, it advises.

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