According to the American Cancer Society, one in two men will develop invasive cancer in his lifetime. One in 26 will develop urinary bladder cancer. One in 19 will develop colon or rectum cancer. One in 13 will develop lung or bronchus cancer. One in six will develop prostate cancer.
Cancer risk increases with age, with 77 percent of all cancers being diagnosed in people 55 years of age and older. We’ve all heard the risk factors: genes, family history, smoking. What we may not realize is that many people diagnosed with cancer have no known risk factors, while others have many risk factors and never get cancer.
This Movember, men should take the time to learn how to identify symptoms associated with some cancers that, if ignored, could cost them their life:
Unexpected weight loss
Most men probably have a few pounds they would like to lose, but losing too much weight too quickly can be a sign of bigger trouble. Mayo Clinic recommends checking in with your doctor if you have an unexpected weight loss of more than 10 pounds or 5 percent of your body weight.
Stomachaches that won’t go away
If your stomachache comes after a big meal, then you are probably in the clear. If, however, that ache doesn’t go away or cannot be explained easily, it could be an early indicator of pancreatic or liver cancer.
Men can, and do, get breast cancer. Some things you should be watching for are similar to the things women should be watching for, like unexplained lumps, nipple retraction and nipple discharges.
Cough that won’t go away
Combine a chronic cough with shortness of breath or repeated bouts with bronchitis, and you could be showing the signs of lung cancer.
Getting up to urinate a lot at night
If you find yourself having trouble getting a good night’s sleep because you keep getting up to go to the bathroom, make sure you call in the morning to schedule an appointment with your doctor. This can be an early indicator of prostate cancer.
Lumps on your testicles
Lumps are bad. They don’t always hurt, so it isn’t obvious when they start growing — meaning a self-examination is needed to find them. Testicular cancer is a tough one to detect, but if you catch it early, it is also one of the most curable cancers.
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, start taking notes about the symptoms you are experiencing. That way, when you are talking with your doctor, you can provide a complete picture of what you are experiencing so your doctor can help get you back on track as soon as possible.
Anyone can develop cancer. Knowing risk factors and symptoms is important, but annual check-ups are critical regardless of your situation. Regular visits with a doctor are the key difference between early detection and treatment, and catching a disease once it’s too late to treat.