On Guard: 10 Early Symptoms of Cancer in Men

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  • Take Action on Cancer Symptoms

    Take Action on Cancer Symptoms

    Cancer is among the most common causes of death in male adults. While a healthy diet can decrease the risk of developing certain cancer, other factors like genes can play a larger role.

    Once cancer spreads, it can be difficult to treat. Knowing early symptoms can help you seek early treatment to better your chances of remission. Consider 10 of the most common cancer symptoms in men and discuss your concerns with a doctor right away.

  • Bowel Changes

    Bowel Changes

    The occasional bowel problem is normal, but changes in your bowels may indicate either colon or rectal cancer—collectively called colorectal cancers. Colon cancer affects the entire colon, while rectal cancer affects the lower portion that connects to the anus.

    Frequent diarrhea and constipation may indicate cancer, particularly if these bowel changes come on suddenly. These problems also may be accompanied by frequent gas and abdominal pain.

  • Rectal Bleeding

    Rectal Bleeding

    Rectal bleeding may be an early sign of rectal cancer. This is especially the case if you experience bleeding from the rectum every time you pass a bowel movement. You may notice blood in your stools.

    While this is a cancer symptom, colon cancers are difficult to self-diagnose in the early stages. Regular colon cancer screenings are recommended starting at age 50.

  • Urinary Changes

    Urinary Changes

    Incontinence and other urinary changes may develop as you age. However, certain changes can be a sign of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is most common in men ages 60 and older.

    Common urinary signs include:

    • leaks and incontinence
    • inability to urinate despite urges to go
    • delayed urination
    • straining during urination

  • Blood in Urine

    Blood in Urine

    While prostate cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms in its earliest stages, blood in the urine can be one of them. Blood in urine also may be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or other prostate problems.

    Early prostate cancer can also cause bloody semen.

  • Persistent Back Pain

    Persistent Back Pain

    Back pain is the most common cause of disability, but few men realize that it may be a sign of cancer. Common symptoms of colorectal and prostate cancers may not show until they spread to other parts of the body, such as the back.

    Unlike occasional muscle pain, this causes tenderness and discomfort in the bones. Prostate cancer specifically may cause these symptoms within the bones of the hips and lower back.

  • Unusual Coughing

    Unusual Coughing

    Coughing isn’t exclusive to smokers, or to people with a cold or allergies. A persistent cough is an early sign of lung cancer. If you don’t have any other related symptoms, such as a stuffy nose or fever, the cough probably is not related to a virus or infection.

    Coughing accompanied with bloody mucus is associated with lung cancer in men.

  • Testicular Lumps

    Testicular Lumps

    Testicular cancers in men are less common than cancers of the prostate, lungs, and colon. Still, there are early signs you shouldn’t ignore. Lumps in the testicles are a warning sign that you might have this cancer.

    Doctors look for these lumps during wellness checks in elderly men as well as those with a family history of testicular cancer. For earliest detection, consider checking for unusual lumps once a month.

  • Excessive Fatigue

    Excessive Fatigue

    Fatigue can be related to a number of chronic illnesses and medical disorders. Excessive fatigue is your body’s way of telling you that something just isn’t right. As cancer cells grow and reproduce, your body may start to feel run down.

    Fatigue is especially prominent in colorectal cancers in men. See a medical professional if you have excessive tiredness that doesn’t go away with a good night’s sleep.

  • Unexplained Weight Loss

    Unexplained Weight Loss

    It becomes more difficult to maintain your weight as you get older, so you might consider weight loss as a positive thing. But, sudden, unexplained weight loss can indicate a serious health problem, including almost any type of cancer.

    If you rapidly drop pounds despite no changes in diet or exercise, discuss this with your doctor.

  • Lumps in the Breast

    Lumps in the Breast

    Breast cancer is not exclusive to women. Men also need to be on guard and check for suspicious lumps in the breast area. This is the earliest detectable symptom of male breast cancer. Call your doctor immediately for testing if you notice a lump.

    Genes can play a role in male breast cancer, but it may also be caused by exposure to radiation or high estrogen levels. Breast lumps are most commonly found during your 60s.

  • Take Charge

    Take Charge

    Many cancers are difficult to detect in the earliest stages, but some may cause noticeable differences. Knowing the most common cancer symptoms is vital to obtaining a prompt diagnosis. Still, the exact signs and symptoms of cancer can vary. As a rule of thumb, you should always see your doctor if you suspect something isn’t right.

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