Tag Archives: lung cancer

15 signs of cancer men shouldn’t ignore

One of the best ways to fight cancer is to catch it in the early stages, when it’s more treatable. The problem is that the warning signs for many kinds of cancer can seem pretty mild and so we ignore them.

Below are 15 signs and symptoms of cancer to which men especially should pay attention. Some are linked more strongly to cancer than others. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you should have a good talk with your doctor.

1. Problems When You Pee

Many men have some problems with urinating as they get older, e.g.:

  • A need to pee more often, especially at night
  • Dribbling, leaking, or an urgent need to go
  • Trouble starting to pee, or a weak stream

prostate cancer

An enlarged prostate gland usually causes these symptoms, but so can prostate cancer. See your doctor for an exam to look for an enlarged prostate and/or a PSA blood test.

2. Changes in Your Testicles

“If you notice a lump, heaviness, or any other change in your testicle, never delay having it looked at,” says Herbert Lepor, MD, urology chairman at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Unlike prostate cancer, which grows slowly, testicular cancer can take off overnight.” Your doctor will look for any problems with a physical exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound of your scrotum.

3. Blood in Your Pee or Stool

These can be among the first signs of cancer of the bladder, kidneys, or colon. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in America. Although you’re more likely to have a problem that’s not cancer, like hemorrhoids or a urinary infection, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for any bleeding that’s not normal, even if you don’t have other symptoms.

colon cancer

4. Skin Changes

When you notice a change in the size, shape, or color of a mole or other spot on your skin, see your doctor as soon as you can. Spots that are new or look different are top signs of skin cancer. You’ll need an exam and perhaps a biopsy, which means doctors remove a small piece of tissue for testing. With skin cancer, you don’t want to wait, says Marleen Meyers, MD, an oncologist at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center.

5. Changes in Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped glands found in your neck, armpits, and other places. When swollen, that’s often a signal that something’s going on in your body. Usually, they mean your immune system is fighting a sore throat or cold, but certain cancers also can make them change. Have your doctor check any swelling that doesn’t get better in 2 to 4 weeks.

6. Trouble Swallowing

Some people have trouble swallowing from time to time. But if your problems don’t go away and you’re also losing weight or vomiting, see your doctor to get checked for throat or stomach cancer, beginning with a throat exam and barium X-ray. During a barium test, you drink a special liquid that makes your throat stand out on the X-ray.

7. Heartburn

Most cases of heartburn can be ameliorated with changes to your diet, drinking habits, and stress levels. But if heartburn doesn’t go away or gets worse, it can signify stomach or throat cancer.

8. Mouth Changes

If you smoke or chew tobacco, you have a higher risk of mouth or oral cancer. Keep an eye out for white or red patches inside your mouth or on your lips. That’s another reason to have regular dental visits because the first sign of many diseases appears in your mouth.

mouth cancer

9. Weight Loss Without Trying

Pants fitting a little looser? If you haven’t changed your diet or exercise habits, it could mean that stress or a thyroid problem is taking a toll. But losing 10 pounds or more without trying isn’t normal. Although most unintended weight loss is not cancer, it’s one of the signs of cancer of the pancreas, stomach, or lungs. Your doctor can find out more with blood tests and tools that make detailed pictures of the inside of your body, like a CT or PET scan.

10. Fever

A fever is usually not a bad thing — it means your body is fighting an infection. But one that won’t go away and doesn’t have an explanation could signal leukemia or another blood cancer. Your doctor should take your medical history and give you a physical exam to check on the cause.

11. Breast Changes

Since breast cancer is uncommon in men, accounting only for 1% of all  breast cancers, men tend to ignore breast lumps. If you find a lump, don’t take any chances. Tell your doctor and have it checked.

12. Fatigue

Many types of cancer cause a bone-deep tiredness that never gets better, no matter how much rest you get. It’s different from the exhaustion you feel after a hectic week or a lot of activity. If fatigue is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. She can help you find the cause and let you know if there are ways to treat it.

13. Cough

In nonsmokers, a nagging cough is almost never cancer. Most go away after 3 to 4 weeks. If yours doesn’t, and you’re short of breath or cough up blood, don’t delay a visit to your doctor, especially if you smoke. A cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Your doctor can test mucus from your lungs to see if you have an infection, and give you a chest X-ray to check.

lungs

14. Pain

Cancer doesn’t cause most aches and pains, but if you’re hurting for more than a month, don’t just grin and bear it. Ongoing pain can be a signal of many types of cancer, especially those that have spread.

15. Belly Pain and Depression

It’s rare, but depression along with stomach pain can be a sign of cancer of the pancreas. Should you worry? Not unless this cancer runs in your family, then you need to see your doctor.

Source: WebMD

See also:

~Éowyn

10 signs of cancer women shouldn’t ignore

From WebMD:

Beth Y. Karlan, MD, director of the Women’s Cancer Research Program at Cedars-Sinai’s Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Los Angeles, says warning signs do not mean cancer, even if you have all of them. But if your symptoms are “persistent and progressive, meaning you wake up every morning and feel something and it has you worried — even for two weeks in a row — it really is worth calling your physician and having it checked out.”

Regular checkups and screenings such as Pap smears and mammograms, as well as knowing your own body, are all crucial for good health.

Which changes are worth bringing to your doctor’s attention? Here are ten signs experts think you should keep on your radar screen.

1. Breast Changes

If you feel a lump, you shouldn’t ignore it, even if your mammogram is normal. If your nipple develops scaliness or flaking, that could indicate Paget’s disease of the nipple, which is associated with an underlying cancer in about 95% of cases. Any milky or bloody nipple discharge should also be checked out. Dimpling of the skin over the breast, particularly if it looks like the skin on an orange, is something to be worried about. Such dimpling is most often associated with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare, usually aggressive cancer characterized also by swollen, hot, red breasts.

2. Irregular Bleeding 

Once you hit menopause (defined as 12 months without a period), any postmenopausal bleeding is a warning sign. Any bleeding, staining, little drops on your underwear, or big clots are abnormal and should be immediately investigated. Such bleeding could indicate something as benign as an endometrial polyp or something more serious like endometrial or cervical cancer.

Bleeding that is uncharacteristic for you — spotting outside of your normal menstrual cycle or heavier periods. Around menopause, abnormal bleeding is often attributed to hormonal shifts, though more serious problems could be the cause, which is why all abnormal vaginal bleeding should be evaluated. Expect to receive a transvaginal sonogram and perhaps a biopsy.

3. Rectal Bleeding 

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in women. One of the hallmarks is rectal bleeding, which many people attribute to hemorrhoids, the most common cause. But it’s not always that. Red or dark blood in your stool warrants a visit to your doctor. Your doctor will likely do a rectal exam and order a colonoscopy if you’re 50 or older and perhaps even if you’re younger.

4. Discharge 

A foul or smelly vaginal discharge could be a sign of cervical cancer. The discharge may contain blood and may occur between periods or after menopause. It’s best not to self-treat a discharge with over-the-counter medications. An exam is necessary to determine if the discharge is due to an infection or something more serious.

5. Bloating 

Ovarian cancer is the No. 1 killer of all the reproductive-organ cancers.  The four most frequent symptoms are bloating; feeling that you’re getting full earlier than you typically would when eating; changing bowel or bladder habits, such as urinating more frequently; and low back or pelvic pain. Pay attention if you have two or more symptoms occurring daily for more than two weeks. If they’re persistent and progressive, call your physician. Expect a pelvic exam, transvaginal sonogram, and perhaps a CA-125 blood test to check for cancerous cells.

6. Unexplained Weight Gain or Loss 

Gaining excess weight month to month — especially if you usually maintain a normal weight and watch what you eat — can be due to an accumulation of fluid in the belly related to ovarian cancer and warrants seeing your doctor. Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, and is most often associated with pancreatic, stomach, esophagus, or lung cancer. But weight loss in women is often caused by a hyperactive thyroid. Expect your doctor to order a thyroid test first to check for this common disease.

lungs

7. Persistent Cough 

Any persistent cough — one that lasts more than two or three weeks and is not due to an allergy or upper respiratory infection or one that produces blood in the sputum– needs to be checked by your doctor. If your cough may be caused by smoking or being exposed to second-hand smoke, get it checked out. Smoking is the number one cancer killer of women, but you don’t have to be a smoker to be at risk. Expect your doctor to order a chest X-ray and perhaps a CT scan.

8. Change in Lymph Nodes 

If you feel hard lymph nodes in your neck or under your arm, you should be seen by a doctor. Swollen, firm lymph nodes are often the result of an infection. However, lymphoma or lung, breast, head, or neck cancer that has spread can also show up as an enlarged lymph node. Expect a physical exam and possibly a biopsy.

9. Fatigue 

Although fatigue can be hard to quantify, the American Cancer Society defines it as “extreme tiredness that does not get better with rest.” If you’re persistently fatigued, see your doctor. Leukemia, colon, or stomach cancer — which can cause blood loss — can result in fatigue. Fatigue can be a serious problem and it’s easy to ignore. Your doctor will most likely do a physical exam and order blood tests to evaluate your thyroid and rule out a thyroid condition.

10. Skin Changes

Keep an eye on any changes you notice on your skin all over your body, and call your doctor right away if anything concerns you. Sores in the mouth that don’t heal — especially if you smoke or drink alcohol – may be a sign of oral cancer and should be examined by your physician. In particular, note any sores or irritated skin in the vaginal area. A nonhealing vulvar lesion could be a sign of vulvar cancer. Changes in moles or pigmented lesions on the vulva can also signify cancer. Vulvar melanoma can frequently be overlooked and can have a very aggressive course. A simple biopsy can be done in your doctor’s office if necessary.

~Eowyn

5 surprising signs of cancer

Charlotte Libov reports for NewsMax Health, Dec. 18, 2012, that a top cancer surgeon says we mistakenly focus on pain as a sign of cancer. Instead, tip-offs to common types of cancer are generally not pain, but other signs, such as a new cough or a new lump on the body. Sometimes, pain occurs only after the cancer has spread.

Vadim Gushchin, M.D., a cancer surgeon at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center’s Institute for Cancer Care, says to watch out for symptoms like the five listed below. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, but you’ve never experienced them before, although the likelihood is that you don’t cancer, you should get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.

1. Sudden Shortness of Breath

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, responsible for nearly 158,700 deaths a year. Sudden shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, and trouble swallowing are sometimes signs of early lung cancer. Coughing up blood-tinged phlegm is a symptom that should get immediate attention. While coughing is the number one symptom of lung cancer, the problem is that nearly all smokers cough. And, although they are in the minority, people who have never smoked, especially those exposed to second-hand smoke or radon, can get lung cancer as well.  Smokers should undergo regular low-dose lung CT screening to catch any possible cancers as early as possible.

2. Unexplained Tiredness

Colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths, kills 50,000 people a year, or one person every 9.3 minutes, and it kills men and women equally. Symptoms include changes in the stool and bathroom habits, and fatigue. Because tumors bleed, the loss of blood can cause weakness and tiredness. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively, and those who eat a diet high in red meat and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain are at a higher risk.

3. Sudden Waist Size Gain

Difficulty fastening clothing over a waistline that’s suddenly expanded may not be a sign of overindulgence, but bloating, which can be an early symptom of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer kills more women each year than any other reproductive cancer, in part because early symptoms tend to be vague. However, bloating of a swollen belly, along with difficulty eating, feeling full quickly, abnormal menstrual cycles, gas, or pelvic or lower abdominal pain can be signals of the disease.

4. Yellowing of the Skin

Pancreatic cancer, a particularly deadly cancer, typically spreads with few symptoms. This is why, although fewer than 44,000 develop it each year, pancreatic cancer ranks as the nation’s fourth leading cancer killer. One signal is a yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes. As pancreatic cancer grows, it may block the bile duct that carries bile from the liver to the duodenum. This causes jaundice, which in turn leads to skin yellowing. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain.

5. Itchy Breasts

Most women dread finding a lump in their breast because it is the classic sign of breast cancer. But the first symptom of inflammatory breast cancer, a less common form of the disease, is an irritated, itchy breast.

~Eowyn