Common Cancer Symptoms in Men
Cancer in men can go unnoticed as its symptoms like back pain and indigestion are treated as minor health symptoms. Noticing the signs of cancer can help detect cancer early and this in turn can help in the complete cure of cancer.
Symptoms of cancer in men can include changes in restroom habits, trouble swallowing, hoarseness of voice, unexplained weight loss, mouth changes and stomach or abdominal pain.
Routine screening tests for cancer is the best way to find cancer early. Many people ignore cancer symptoms or do not have an idea how serious their condition is until it is too late. However, the symptoms of cancer are too vague and generally occur in routine life that anyone would hardly attribute cancer as the possible cause.
Cancers affect men and women equally, but statistics show that men and women are prone to different types of cancers.
Most common cancers that occur in men are:
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Mouth and throat cancers
- Pancreatic cancer
It is important for men to know the difference between normal aches and pains or fatigue and the symptoms that can possibly be cancer.
Some of the cancer symptoms that men should not ignore are as follows.
1. Weight Loss Without Trying
A sudden and unexpected weight loss is welcome in people who are trying to lose weight for health purposes. However, if there is a sudden drop in weight without trying is a matter of concern. An unexpected loss in weight is a sign of pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and lung cancer.
Other reasons for weight loss without trying include overactive thyroid gland, diabetes, cirrhosis, hookworm infections and tuberculosis.
2. Changes in Restroom Habits and Abnormalities While Urinating
Changes in the flow of urine that can be indicative of cancer include:
- Difficulty in starting the flow of urine
- Difficulty in stopping the flow of urine
- Stream of urine that is weaker than normal
- Dribbling or leaking of urine
- Changes in the frequency of need to urinate
- Swelling or shrinkage of size of testicle or lump in testicle
- Heaviness in the scrotum
- Erection problems
Above symptoms are indicative of prostate and testicular cancer in men. Some symptoms like irregularities in urine flow can also suggest bladder cancer in men.
Other causes of abnormalities in urination include urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections and bladder control problems.
3. Mouth and Throat Changes
Certain changes that can be noticed in the mouth and throat as signs of cancer include:
- White spots or patches in the mouth
- Persistent pain in the mouth and throat areas
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in moving the lower jaw
- Tooth or teeth that come out or loosen without any known reason
- Swelling of facial features
- Numbness or tenderness in lips, cheeks or tongue
- Sores or bleeding inside the tongue
- Persistent cough or hoarseness of voice
- Coughing out blood
Symptoms of the mouth and throat can be suggestive of various types of cancer. Oral cancer, lung cancer or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are some of the possibilities.
Other causes of changes in mouth and throat areas include mouth and throat ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, pharyngitis (inflammation of pharynx), oral gonorrhea, Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease and allergic reactions.
4. Breast Changes
Male breast cancer is very rare and accounts for about 1 percent of all breast cancers. This is the very reason that men can ignore the signs of breast cancer. Breast cancer in men can be caused by increased levels of estrogen, exposure to harmful radiation or family history of breast cancer. Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer occurring in men.
Among the various symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
- Enlargement of breast (usually on the affected side alone, but may occur on both sides)
- Nipple pain
- Inversion of nipple or retraction of nipple
- Sores on the nipple, areola and around it
- Lump felt in the breast, that may or may not be painful
- Discharge from the nipple that may be clear fluid, black or bloody
- Enlargement of lymph nodes under the arm
- Redness or scaling of nipple and surrounding area
Enlargement of breasts or changes in the breasts may occur due to reasons other than cancer. These conditions may include hormonal changes, kidney or liver problems, low testosterone levels, nutritional or hormonal supplements, drug and alcohol use and medicines like tricyclic antidepressants.
5. Abdominal Pain and Stomach Upsets
Stomach aches and abdominal pains are symptoms of many conditions other than cancer. But one cannot ignore the possibility of cancer when the symptoms are persistent in spite of taking measures to reduce them.
Some of the symptoms of the abdominal discomfort include:
- Poor appetite
- Chronic acidity and heartburn (stomach or throat cancer)
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Swelling up of abdomen or fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Stomach aches that may be dull feels like pressing inward (pancreatic cancer)
- Stomach cramps and upset stomachs (liver cancer)
- Abdominal pain towards the lower left side of the abdomen (Leukemia – due to enlarged spleen)
- Unexplained pain in the lower right side of the abdomen (liver cancer)
- Feeling full after a small meal
- Blood in the urine or stool (kidney or bladder cancer, colon cancer)
Causes of abdominal pain and discomfort and changes in bowel habits can be due to plenty of other reasons like gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach ulcers, gall bladder infections, cirrhosis of liver, irritable bowel syndrome and food poisoning.
The symptoms of cancer can be specific or vague, or cancer may be present without any symptoms at all. One must go for routine screening tests and the possible risk factors associated with cancer.
Once cancer is detected, the treatment should be started immediately. So, early cancer detection can help in optimal treatment and management of cancer.