Here's a sobering reality for our male readers — the National Cancer Institute says that you're far more likely to die from cancer than a woman.
In large part, that may be because men are pretty bad about going to the doctor. They'll often ignore symptoms that are troubling until they simply can't anymore. With cancer, that's a problem. The earlier that you diagnose cancer, the more likely you are to survive.
With that in mind, here are some of the most important early signs of cancer in men:
- Unintentional weight loss. It's normal for a person's weight to fluctuate a few pounds over time, but sustained weight loss for no identifiable reason is a cause for concern.
- Urination and bowel trouble. Occasional intestinal problems or a loss or urine control can happen for many reasons. If you develop consistent problems, however, or notice blood in your urine or pain upon urination, see a doctor. Don't let your symptoms be easily dismissed either, as about one out of every nine men in the United States develops prostate cancer at some point.
- Testicular changes. This is particularly a concern for men between 20 and 34 years of age. The most obvious sign of a problem is a lump on a testicle, but pain, swelling and aching are also possible.
- Breast changes. Breast cancer is often overlooked in males until it is too late. Swelling, lumps, nipple discharge, inverted nipples and scaling are all concerns — especially if you have female relatives that have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. That may indicate a genetic predisposition.
Ultimately, the most valuable thing you can do about your health is if something seems wrong or worrisome, talk to your doctor about it. It's better to know you have nothing to worry about than to let cancer take hold.
Unfortunately, sometimes doctors make mistakes. A missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer can be devastating for you and your family. If that happens, find out more about your legal options.