Cancer is the most common cause of death in adult males worldwide. Though a wholesome diet and healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, factors like genes can play a major role. Once cancer spreads, it can be very hard to treat. However, the best possible way to combat the disease is to identify it in the early stages, when it’s more treatable.
The main issue is that the warning signs for most types of cancer can seem very mild. Thus, knowing early symptoms can help one to get treatment sooner to improve the chances of remission.
Read this article to find out what to look out for and what you should talk with your healthcare provider right away.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer
A rare bowel problem is normal, but frequent changes in the bowels may indicate either colon or rectal cancer, which are called colorectal cancers. Colon cancer can occur in any part of the colon, while rectal cancer affects the rectum, which connects the colon to the anus.
Frequent diarrhoea and constipation are the most common symptoms of cancer, especially if these bowel changes develop suddenly. While frequent flatulence and abdominal may also occur. Further, a change in the physical characteristics or size of bowel movements may also be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
Rectal bleeding is an early sign of rectal cancer. And this is mainly worrying if the bleeding persists or if a person has anaemia due to blood loss. One may also notice blood in stools. Though more common causes of rectal bleeding like haemorrhoids, one should not try to self-diagnose if you’re having these symptoms. It is vital to discuss with your healthcare provider about your problems. Medical experts suggest that a person should get regular colon cancer screening starting at age 45.
Moles are benign skin growths that appear anywhere on the body but are common on the head, neck, and trunk. But, if moles change size, shape, or colour, it may be an early sign of skin cancer. Other skin growths may also be potential cancer signs, thus it’s vital that you have annual skin cancer screenings to avert it from spreading.
Lymph Nodes Changes
Lymph nodes are bean-shaped glands that are grouped throughout the system such as the neck, armpits, and groin. They contain white blood cells, which are released to combat infection and disease. Swollen or tender lymph nodes can be a sign that the body is combatting a disease, which could be like a common cold or sore throat. Don’t ignore swollen lymph node changes that don’t return to normal in 3 to 4 weeks, consult your doctor, as it could be a sign of something more severe like cancer.
Incontinence and other urinary changes are common as you age. However, certain symptoms may indicate prostate cancer and it is one of the most common cancers in men aged 60 and older.
Common urinary symptoms include:
- Urinary leaks
- Unable to urinate despite urge
- Delayed urination
- Pain during urination
Experts recommend that men who are at high risk should discuss with the doctor and get screened regularly starting at ages 40 to 45.
Blood In Urine
If you notice blood in the urine, you shouldn’t ignore it, as it is a common symptom of bladder cancer. This type of cancer is quite common in smokers and former smokers than in people who’ve never smoked. Inflammation of the prostate, prostate cancer and urinary tract infections can also cause blood in the urine.
Swallowing difficulties are caused due to conditions like sore throat or damage to the throat from acid reflux and gastroesophageal disease (GERD). But swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) can also be an early sign of throat cancer, oesophageal cancer or stomach cancer.
Constant heartburn is more than a sign that you need to eat earlier during the night or modify what’s on your plate. This could be a sign that something is wrong with your stomach or throat. Generally, heartburn can be caused by unhealthy eating behaviours and regular heartburn may be a warning sign. For instance, the constant irritation can lead to inflammation and irritation in the oesophagus. This damage can make one more susceptible to throat or oesophageal cancer in rare cases.
Constant Back Pain
Back pain is a common cause of disability, but men hardly realize that it may be symptom of cancer. Generally, symptoms of cancer may not develop until it has spread to other regions of the body like the bones, and spine. For instance, prostate cancer is especially prone to spread to the bones and may cause these symptoms within hip bones and lower back.
Person who smokes or chews tobacco are at an increased risk of oral cancer. White, red, grey or yellow patches inside the mouth or on the lip may be a sign of cancerous changes.
Any mouth ulcers or canker sores that persist more than a few weeks, which don’t respond to treatment can also be a symptom of oral cancer.
Coughing isn’t common to smokers or to person with a cold or allergies. A continuous cough is an early sign of lung cancer. Coughing associated with bloody mucus is also sign of lung cancer.
Testicular cancer in men is less common than cancers of the prostate, lungs and colon. But still, one shouldn’t ignore early symptoms. Any lumps in the testicles may be symptoms of testicular cancer.
Fatigue can be associated with several chronic diseases and medical problems. Extreme fatigue is the body’s way of indicating that something isn’t working the right way. As cancer cells grow and reproduce, the body may start to feel low down. Fatigue is a common symptom linked to most cancers. Get medical help if excessive tiredness that doesn’t settle away after a sound night’s sleep.
Generally, fever is a sign that body is combatting an infection and it will settle with treatment in most cases. But if fever persists without any reason, then it could be a sign of leukaemia, lymphoma, or blood cancer.
Sudden Weight Loss
Sudden and unexplained weight loss can be sign of a serious health problem, including most types of cancer. If you rapidly lose weight without diet or exercise, then discuss with your healthcare provider.