Cancer Symptoms Men Shouldn't Ignore


The three most common types of cancer found in men are prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Killing a staggering 87,000 men per year, lung and bronchial cancer is the deadliest cancer. Coming in second, prostate cancer kills almost 30,000 men per year. Following close behind, colorectal cancer results in over 26,000 deaths per year. The 4th and 5th deadliest cancers in men are pancreatic cancer and liver cancer, killing over 19,000 and 14,000 respectively. 

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in U.S. adults. Symptoms of cancer can be easily ignored. Men may brush off the warning signs to avoid making a trip to the doctor. Cancer is best treated when the disease is caught at its early stages. Although some of these symptoms may seem like no big deal, they can be linked to deadly cancers.

1.   Unexplained Weight Loss

Typically considered positive, weight loss can also be a sign of many types of cancer. The weight loss is caused from a loss of appetite and the body working hard to fight the cancer. An unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more in a month, without changing diet and exercise patterns, could be your body’s warning sign for serious health concerns. Do not overlook unexplained weight loss as a health benefit, talk to your doctor.

2.   Fatigue

One of the most common symptoms for all types of cancer is fatigue. Cancers force your body to use more energy. Muscle weakness, organ damage, hormone changes and proteins called cytokines, released by some cancers, also cause fatigue. If you are getting enough rest and still feeling fatigued, don’t sleep it off, it could be a sign of a deadly disease.

3.   Blood in the Stool or Urine

A red flag for colorectal or anal cancer is blood in the stool. Your stool may look very dark or black in color. Blood in the urine could be an early sign of bladder cancer or a sign of advanced prostate cancer. Look for urine that is pink, orange, red or cola colored. Blood in the stool or urine are often warning signs for other health problems as well. Talk with your doctor to find the source of the problem so you can treat it effectively.

4.   Pain, Difficulty or Frequent Urination

Along with blood in the stool, another sign of prostate cancer is frequent or difficult urination. Men may have difficulty starting to urinate or experience a weak stream. Prostate cancer may also cause men to urinate more frequently, especially at night. Painful and frequent urination are also warning signs associated with bladder cancer.

5.   Changes in the Testicles

Testicular lumps, swelling or pain should never be ignored. These symptoms could be the result of testicular cancer. Men with testicular cancer can also experience heaviness in the lower belly or scrotum.

6.   Persistent Cough

The leading cause of cancer death in men is lung and bronchus cancer. Unfortunately, lung cancer is typically in advanced stages before any symptoms occur. If you experience a persistent cough, changes in “smoker’s cough” or you are coughing up blood, talk with your doctor, as these symptoms might be the result of a deadly cancer.  

7.   Pain

Back pain is often a symptom of colon or rectal cancer. Testicular, bone and prostate cancer can also cause pain that can’t be soothed from traditional methods like ice, heat or rest. If you are experiencing pain due to cancer, it is likely that the cancer has already spread or progressed.

8.   Difficulty Swallowing

Throat and stomach cancer may not be among the top 5 most dangerous cancers for men, but it is still critical to pay attention to early warning signs. If you are having difficulty swallowing for a long period of time, you could be at risk for either of these two cancers.

9.   Changes to the Skin

Examining your body for skin changes plays a crucial role in detecting the early signs of skin cancer. When checking for abnormal moles and growths, follow the ABCDE’s. If you notice a mole or growth that has one or more ABCDE’s, have your doctor check it out.

  • Asymmetry: The two halves of the mole will not line up if you draw a line across it

  • Border: Edges around the mole will not be even

  • Color: Moles have multiple colors or shades

  • Diameter: Moles are larger than the size of a pencil eraser or ¼ inch

  • Evolving: Changes in the size, shape, or color of the mole over time

10.   Breast Lumps

Breast cancer is not usually on men’s radar, but 1% of all breast cancer is found in men. If you notice swelling or lumps, do not ignore it. Talk with your doctor or the John Stoddard Cancer Center. John Stoddard Cancer Center is recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers as an accredited breast center.  

Many of these symptoms may seem minor or go unnoticed, but it is important to be proactive about your health. If you experience one or more of these cancer symptoms, talk with your doctor. Cancer claims thousands of lives each year. Detecting cancer in its early stages may result in the difference between life and death.

John Stoddard Cancer Center leads Iowa and the Midwest in cancer care, providing patients with the most advanced and comprehensive care. If you are showing symptoms for cancer of any type, turn to the John Stoddard Cancer Center for your care.

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