Some men, unfortunately, procrastinate their visits to the doctors and according to Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer of the national office of the American Cancer Society, when they do visit, it is invariably after some coaxing and pushing from their women.
Medical experts opine that men can get some warning signals of some men-specific symptoms of cancer early. Although many of the symptoms like the pains in different body parts are vague and inconclusive, yet some of them can also be associated with cancer. In fact, certain early signs of cancer can be found through routine preventive care and it provides the options to start the treatment early.
cancer in men Top 15 Cancer Symptoms Men Should Not Ignore
Symptoms No. 1 – Development of any breast mass
Men generally harbor the notion men never suffer from breast cancer. But although uncommon, men can also suffer from breast cancer. So, Lichtenfeld advises going for medical check-ups, in case of the development of any new mass in the breast area. The American Cancer Society cautions to take notice of any of these following changes in this regard:
- Dimpling and crumpling of the nipples.
- Retraction of the nipples.
- Any discharge of fluid from the nipples.
- Scaling and redness on any part of the breast skin or nipples.
In case of occurrence of any of the above symptoms, the doctors may advise for tests like biopsy and mammogram after making a thorough physical examination.
Symptom No. 2 – Pain and body ache
Although people often complain of pain and body aches as they as age and most of the pain are not related to cancer, still you should consult your doctor, as at times, they can be the early signs of cancer.
Even the American Cancer Society also advises reporting any pain anywhere in the body to your doctor. Even if it may not be due to cancer, you would still benefit from the visit, since the doctor can only diagnose the reason for it.
Symptom No. 3 – Any change in the size and shape of the testicles
Men between the ages of 20 to 39 may suffer from testicular cancer. So, the American Cancer Society advises men to go for routine testicular check-ups. Some physicians even suggest it once a month. In this regard, Wu says that development of lump or swelling, shrinkage, and feeling of heaviness in the testicles should be noted and immediate medical check-ups should be done, because some testicular cancer spread fast and hence it is imperative that such condition should be detected early.
After the physical examination of the testicles, the doctors may conduct blood tests, ultrasound of the scrotum and biopsy of the testicles.
Symptom No. 4 – Change in the Lymph Nodes
In case of any progressive development of a lump or swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, under the armpits, medical advice should be sought. Hannah Linden, MD. Linden, oncologist and associate professor of medicine at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine says in this regard, who also happens to be the joint associate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash says in this regard, “If this condition remains so for more than a month, immediately consult your doctor.”
The doctor first rules out any possible infection that may cause the enlargement of the lymph nodes and then may advise a biopsy.
Symptom No. 5 – Fever without any reason
An occurrence of any fever without any clear-cut reason may be due to some illness like pneumonia. But, it can also be due to cancer.
American Cancer Society says that blood cancer like lymphoma or leukemia can cause fever. Fever also occurs when cancer spreads to other body parts in the body. So, it is better to consult your doctor to find out the underlying cause of the fever.
Symptom No. 6 – Appreciable weight loss without any conscious effort
Cancer can lead to weight loss. Lichtenfeld says that if somebody losses 10 percent of his body weight within a short span of time without any apparent reason like a strict dieting regimen and exercise, then the doctor should be consulted.
octor takes note of your dietary habits and lifestyles and conducts further tests if necessary.
Symptom No. 7 – Depression and persistent pain in the abdomen area
Medical experts opine that depression can lead to pancreatic cancer. Hence, if a person is suffering from depression and complains of abdominal pain, then it should be investigated. Changes in the color of the stool and jaundice are the other symptoms. In such cases, the doctor conducts tests like chest X-rays, MRI, CT Scans etc to find out any early signs of cancer.
Symptom No. 8 – Feeling of exhaustion
The American Cancer Society says that feeling of exhaustion or fatigue can occur due to cancers like leukemia and some colon and stomach cancer. So, in case of extreme tiredness, which continues unabated even after considerable rest, you should consult your doctor.
The doctor would look for other associated symptoms in order to find out the reason behind fatigue.
Symptom No. 9 – Prolonged coughing
Coughing is commonly associated with cold and viral fever. It can also be the reaction of some allergies and medications. But Ranit Mishori, assistant professor and director of the family medicine clerkship and Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington D.C. says that when it occurs for a prolonged time – say for a month, then such condition should be reported to your doctor, as it may be due to acid reflux or bronchitis but it can also be the symptom of cancer.
After doing a study of your history, the doctor will do a thorough examination of your throat and check the function of lungs. If your smoke, then he may also conduct an X-ray in order to investigate the reason of coughing and then he would advise the further course of action.
Symptom No. 10 – Difficulty in swallowing foods
Many men have difficulty in swallowing foods and they try to adjust to by changing their food habits like sustaining on liquid diets.
But, difficulty in swallowing food could also be due to GI cancer, as the cancer of the esophagus. So, instead of just switching over to liquid diets, it is wise to consult the doctor, who may conduct X-ray and refer you to an upper endoscopy specialist for the examination of your upper GI tract and esophagus.
Symptom No. 11 – Change in the color and texture of the skin
Mary Daly, MD, oncologist, and head of the department of clinical genetics at the Fox Chase Center in Philadelphia says, “Any changes in the skin pigmentation and moles, excessive scaling, and sudden bleeding could be the signs of skin cancer, especially if these changes remain so for several weeks.”
In order to find out the reason behind such changes, the doctor may go for biopsy after a thorough physical examination.
Symptom No. 12 – Any unusual bleeding
Lichtenfeld says that any unusual bleeding like blood in the urine, stool or a cough should be reported to your doctor.
In this regard, Mishori says, “If you pass blood in your stool, don’t be complacent about it thinking to be hemorrhoid. It may also be due to colon cancer.”
In such cases, the doctor may conduct a colonoscopy to investigate the reason behind the bleeding. Any symptom of cancer or in its precancerous stage would be detected through this test.
Symptom No. 13 – Changes in the mouth
Development of any white patches inside the mouth or in the tongue may be due to leukoplakia, which may lead to oral cancer. The white patches or spots are developed due to prolonged irritation. People who smoke are particularly prone to such condition and should immediately consult the doctor or dentist, who after a careful examination of it would recommend further necessary steps.
Symptoms No. 14 – Occurrence of any urinary trouble
With advancing age, most men face urinary problems. They find it difficult to control their urge to pass urine and if this problem is acute, then immediately seek the opinion of your doctor.
The doctor would conduct a thorough examination probably through a digital rectal test to find out if there is any sign of enlargement of the prostate gland. This non-cancerous condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is common in old men. The doctor may also conduct a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and biopsy to find out the chances of any prostate cancer and may refer you to a urologist.
Symptoms No. 15 – Prolonged indigestion
Regular indigestion can also occur due to the cancer of the stomach, esophagus, and throat. So, in such case, your doctor’s opinion should be immediately sought. The doctor will decide the further action after noting your symptoms and case history.