People with cancer may present with symptoms and signs that indicate the need for medical review.
Symptoms requiring urgent medical review include:
- Unrelenting pain especially with weight bearing
- Saddle paresthesia
- Loss of bladder/bowel
- Sudden onset muscle weakness
- Sudden swelling redness and pain
Signs to look out for include:
- Recent unexplained weight loss
- Night pain
It is also important to be aware of specific oncological emergencies.
If your patient presents with any of the following they should present to the emergency department:
- Oncological emergencies – cauda equina (loss of bladder and bowel control), tumour lysis, hypercalcaemia, malignant pericardial effusion, superior vena cava syndrome
- Haematological emergencies – febrile neutropaenia, thromboembolism
Printable oncological emergencies table.
Source: Adapted from Maltser et al. PM &R 2017