Men: You’ve heard it a million times but there’s a reason why you should not ignore any symptoms of cancer.
Cancer is a disease that, depending on the type and area of the body it begins in, is a foe you cannot simply wish away. Cancer cells are different from normal cells in many ways. Cancerous cells can grow out of control, becoming invasive very quickly.
Spreading throughout the body, cancer cells can take over by forming abnormal cells that can clump together, forming a mass of tissue called a tumor. Malignant tumors invade surrounding tissue, spreading into nearby organs where they can cause serious and very likely fatal damage.
The sooner a man recognizes possible symptoms of cancer and gets it checked out, the better the chances of survival. Early diagnosis is key, and the best weapon men have is to know signs of this deadly disease and to not ignore the warning signals cancer is giving.
Starting today, all men should pay attention to their bodies, noticing any possible signs of cancer. There is usually a good chance a sign is not cancer-related but until you know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Pain or difficulty urinating
A man experiencing pain or difficulty in urinating is a possible sign of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men behind non-melanoma skin cancer.
As a man ages, he most likely will notice a greater frequency of having to urinate during the night or having a weak stream of urine. These signs should be reported to his doctor. Blood in urine is another sign men should look for and needs to be checked out.
A feeling of pain or heaviness in the pelvic area can be a sign of various things, but it could also be a sign of prostate or testicular cancer. If the pain does not go away within a few days or if the pain is getting worse, a man needs to be evaluated by his doctor as soon as possible.
Any lump or swelling noticed on a testicle needs to be looked at by a doctor to rule out testicular cancer.
Signs of testicular cancer can either be a painless or painful lump or swelling in a testicle or the scrotum. Other signs can also include a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum or a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin. Each month a man should perform a testicular self exam.
Any sore or growth on the penis
Anytime a man notices or feels a sore or growth on his penis it could be a symptom of penile cancer. This is a rare cancer but it does occur. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is another type of cancer that has been associated with a growth on the penis. Anytime an abnormality on the penis is found, see a doctor right away.
Breast cancer is almost exclusively associated with women but men can and do get this disease. Though not as prevalent in men, a man should notice any signs of breast cancer which can include a lump, skin dimpling, nipple discharge or a red or scale appearance on or around the breast.
Any changes in intestinal or bowel habits
Whenever there are changes affecting the intestinal tract, these could be a sign of cancer. If a man is experiencing changes associated with constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stools, gas, thinner stools, stomach pain, excess bloating or any overall change in bowel habits, see your doctor. Colon cancer is often associated with changes in the intestinal tract.
A common early symptom of many cancers is often feeling fatigued. If you are noticing a general decline in energy levels or having frequent and persistent fatigue affecting your normal daily activities, this needs to be evaluated by your doctor.
Shortness of breath, persistent cough or wheezing
Whenever you are experiencing a persistent cough, wheezing or a noticeable shortness of breath that is out of the ordinary, this could be a sign of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States. Any of these signs needs to be checked out by your doctor right away.
Unintentional weight loss
Losing more than 10 pounds within a month without making any dietary or exercise changes or attempts to try to lose weight could be a sign of cancer.
Even though weight can fluctuate and weight loss can be due to many other factors besides cancer, any significant loss of weight should be reported to your doctor.
Unintentional weight loss could be a symptom of pancreatic, stomach or lung cancers. Notify your doctor of unintentional weight loss right away.
Abnormal skin growth or change in a mole
All men should do a monthly body check looking at all areas of his skin from head to toe. Knowing what looks normal and what doesn’t can help a man to determine if there are any abnormal skin growths or changes in a mole.
Skin cancer can range from nonfatal basal cell carcinoma to deadly malignant melanoma. See a dermatologist if any abnormalities are found as soon as possible.
Fever or night sweats
Usually a fever is a sign your body is fighting an infection. Night sweats is where you have an episode of nighttime sweating that can soak your bedding or pajamas.
Experiencing unexplained fevers or night sweats that occur out of the blue could be a sign of one of the blood cancers of leukemia or lymphoma. Talk to your doctor if either of these symptoms is occurring.
Changes in the mouth
Any man who smokes or chews tobacco has a higher risk of mouth cancer. The best thing to do is to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Pay attention for any white or red patches inside your mouth or on your lips.
See a dentist regularly who can notice these changes and see your doctor immediately if these signs occur.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook.
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