Being Well

7 Cancer Symptoms in Men Worth the Checkup

Men are more likely to delay seeing a doctor, but don't delay an appointment when it comes to early signs of cancer.

Men don’t often like going to the doctor. According to a study in the BMC Family Practice journal, men are less likely than women to schedule an appointment to get symptoms checked out. Yet delaying a diagnosis — or confirmation of a clean bill of health — only leads to more stress, and potentially more cost and a worse prognosis. Even mildly irritating health issues can signal the start of a more serious problem.

7 Cancer Symptoms in Men

Cancer symptoms in men can be sneaky and not obvious until the disease has progressed. Prostate, colon, lung and skin cancers are the most commonly occurring cancers in men, according to the American Cancer Society. If you have any of the following issues, schedule an appointment, even if you think everything is fine.

  1. Changes in urination. Do you find it’s harder to pee, or the flow is weaker? Do you have to urinate more frequently? This could be an early sign of prostate cancer, among other prostate conditions. It’s best not to pass this one off as normal aging. Burning during urination or blood in your urine should lead you to call your doctor right away.
  2. Erectile dysfunction (ED). ED can occur with age, but it can also be a symptom of prostate cancer. This one is best to get checked out, despite the awkward conversation with your doctor. Seek out a doctor you feel comfortable opening up to, even if it means you have to shop around a little.
  3. Changes in bowel habits. Bowel habits aren’t fun to discuss with anyone, but changes are important to discuss. Frequent diarrhea, constipation, cramps and gas can all be signs of colon cancer. They’re also signs of numerous other digestive issues. Because bowel habits are a vague symptom, it’s best to see your doctor and find out what’s really going on. And remember to play it safe and start getting a colonoscopy procedure at age 50.
  4. Persistent cough or shortness of breath. If you are or have been a smoker, never ignore chest pain, coughing or wheezing. Even if you’re not a smoker, environmental exposures or frequent secondhand smoke exposure can lead to lung cancer. Symptoms that cause trouble breathing could also be signs of respiratory diseases that are best treated when given prompt attention.
  5. Fatigue. Consistent tiredness that goes beyond what you feel normally is another sign that something may not be right. If you’re feeling ongoing fatigue, that should warrant a checkup.
  6. Skin changes. New moles, pinkish spots with irregular borders, moles that bleed and moles that change in size could be signs of skin cancer. Regularly check your skin, especially areas frequently exposed to the sun for long periods. Take photos if you need to track any possible changes, and make an appointment with a dermatologist to get any suspicious areas checked out.
  7. Lumps. New lumps or bumps under the skin or in your testicles are also clear signs you need to see a doctor.

Although it’s not always convenient to make a doctor’s appointment, it is important for men to get any suspicious cancer symptoms checked out. You may learn that nothing is wrong and gain peace of mind, or you may catch a problem early and be able to act quickly. And remember to get all cancer screenings your doctor recommends. Prioritizing your health is always worth the extra effort.

If you experience any symptoms that could be cancer, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.

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Patricia Chaney
Patricia Chaney