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Breast Changes and 7 Other Cancer Signs Men Often Don’t Recognize

cancer signs in men

Signs of cancer can be difficult to identify because they typically are also associated with other health problems, some of which are minor. However, there are numerous cancer signs men often don’t recognize and which should be addressed as soon as they are noted.

Which cancer signs do men miss?

If you’re a man or if you are a woman who has an important man in your life, then you are probably familiar with the tendency for men to put off seeking cancer screening or going to the doctor. However, it’s important for men to be aware of certain bodily changes that may indicate cancer, signs that men may dismiss as being unimportant or just a nuisance. Here are some of those cancer signs.

Breast changes. Male breast cancer is not common, but that doesn’t mean it can't happen. Just ask the more than 2,200 men whom the National Cancer Institute estimates will develop breast cancer in 2013. Breast changes that may indicate cancer include puckering or skin dimpling of the breast, retraction of the nipple, a lump or mass in the breast, scaling or redness of the breast skin or nipple, and discharge from the nipple.

Testicle changes. Do your balls feel heavy, lumpy, or have they changed in size? These are the types of testicle changes men should check for routinely and then be examined by their doctor. Testicular cancer usually affects men aged 20 to 39, but if you’re older, don’t let that stop you from consulting your doctor if you notice any testicle changes.

Unexplained weight loss. If you’re following a weight loss program and you’re dropping pounds, good for you! But if you experience unexplained weight loss, say about 10 percent of your body weight over a 3 to 6 month period, then that’s cause for concern and time for a visit to your doctor.

Lymph node changes. Although there are more than 500 lymph nodes in your body, you don’t need to check them all! But you should periodically examine under your armpit, your neck, and your groin for swollen lymph nodes or any lymph nodes that have grown in size. It may be a sign of an infection, but there’s also the possibility of cancer.

Unexplained fever. If things are getting a little hot in your life (and it has nothing to do with your sex life or your job) and your fever has not gone away, it’s time to have it checked. Fever is the body’s way of fighting an infection, but you should not ignore unexplained fever, as it may indicate cancer.

Changes in your mouth. Open wide and say “ahh” in front of a mirror. Do you see any white spots on your tongue or inside your mouth? Any sores that won’t heal?

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If you smoke cigarettes or cigars or if you chew tobacco, you are at risk for oral cancer. Any changes in your mouth should be checked by your dentist or doctor.

Fatigue. Feeling beat or overly tired? Most people do experience fatigue at one time or another, but when fatigue lingers and doesn’t improve even when you get some extra rest, it could be an early indication of certain cancers, such as those that affect the stomach, colon, or blood (leukemia).

In fact, a recent report from Cancer Research UK announced that bowel cancer rates among men have increased by more than 25 percent in the last 35 years compared with a 6 percent increase in women. So climb out of bed and see your doctor if fatigue persists.

Pee problems. All guys eventually have problems peeing, right? As men get older, the chances of experiencing urinary urgency, dribbling, a weak urine stream, and a need to pee more often during the day and night increases.

Although these symptoms are often indications of a noncancerous condition known as an enlarged prostate, it pays to talk to your doctor about being screened for prostate cancer. This involves a digital rectal examination and a simple blood test called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen).

Prevention is the best medicine. Men and the women who love them should be aware of potential cancer signs in men and take action.

Also read: Three cancers expected to increase in men and how to prevent them

Guardian UK
National Cancer Institute

Image: Morguefile