Cancer danger signs are often vague and in many cases there are few to no symptoms. To tell the truth, prostate cancer ─ the most common male cancer ─ is one of the cancers with the least obvious symptoms.
Research by the MD Anderson Cancer Prevention Center at the University of Texas has proved that men are often guilty of not going for annual examinations or of visiting a doctor regularly. The result is that many men ignore or simply don’t notice cancer danger signs ─ something that any cancer sufferer will regret.
Therese Bevers, Director of the MD Anderson centre, sheds some light on some of the major symptoms or danger signs that are often ignored by men.
An unusual lump
A lump under your skin could be a sign of cancer. These lumps usually occur in the breast, testicles, lymph nodes and soft tissue, such as ligaments. A lump like this should be discussed with your doctor immediately.
A change in your testicles
If one or both of your testicles swells or grows, it could also be a sign of cancer. If a man’s testicles feel heavy and swollen, it is often a warning that he should have been to see his doctor long ago. All these symptoms could point to testicular cancer.
A change in your toilet habits
If you have to constantly go to the toilet, and often experience pain when you urinate, it could be a sign of bladder or prostate cancer. Other signs to look out for, are blood in your urine or stool. It is also important to remember that diarrhoea that doesn’t go away could also be dangerous.
Changes in your skin colour
It is not only people who work out of doors in the sun who get skin cancer. Bevers says if you have sores that don’t heal or warts on your body that change colour, it could often point to cancer. Every person is supposed to constantly watch his skin for any change in colour or sensitivity.
A change in your digestion or if it becomes difficult to swallow
A chronic burning sensation in your throat or chest must not be ignored, Bevers cautions. She says a sudden change in your digestion or when it becomes difficult to swallow, has got nothing to do with age. On the contrary, it could possibly be signs of esophageal, stomach or throat cancer.
A chronic cough or hoarseness
If your cough or hoarseness persists for more that three weeks, it is extremely dangerous. Even if you are a smoker a sore throat or a cough for longer than three weeks is not normal. A chronic hoarseness, short-windedness or coughing up blood could all be signs of lung cancer.
Changes in your mouth
Do a close examination of your mouth when you brush your teeth in the morning or at night. White spots in your mouth or on your tongue could be an indication of a precancerous condition that could later become cancer. Especially sores, inexplicable bleeding or extreme sensitivity of the mouth are reasons for seeing a doctor.
Inexplicable weight loss
If you are constantly losing weight without having changed your diet or exercise programme, you should also see a doctor. Losing weight for no reason is a danger sign of pancreatic, stomach, esophageal or lung cancer.
If you are constantly tired irrespective of how much sleep you get and changes to your diet, it could be a sign of leukaemia or even colon or stomach cancer.
Constant back pain, headache or stomach ache that does not want to go away, could, apart from cancer, point to many other chronic illnesses.
Bevers says that none of these symptoms definitely point to cancer but that it is important to remember to go for medical examinations annually to prevent cancer from catching you off guard.
For more information, visit the MD Anderson Cancer Prevention Center’s website.