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15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore

Men, heed these possible clues and find cancer early, when it's more treatable.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 3: Changes in the Testicles continued...

Evan Y. Yu , MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington and assistant member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Yu tells WebMD that being aware of troublesome testicular symptoms between examinations is wise. "Any change in the size of the testicles, such as growth or shrinkage," Yu says, “should be a concern.”

In addition, any swelling, lump, or feeling of heaviness in the scrotum should not be ignored. Some testicular cancers occur very quickly. So early detection is especially crucial.  "If you feel a hard lump of coal [in your testicle], get it checked right away," Yu says. 

Your doctor should do a testicular exam and an overall assessment of your health. If cancer is suspected, blood tests may be ordered. You may also undergo an ultrasound examination of your scrotum, and your doctor may decide to do a biopsy. A biopsy may require the removal of the entire testicle.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 4: Changes in the Lymph Nodes

If you notice a lump or swelling in the lymph nodes under your armpit or in your neck -- or anywhere else -- it could be a reason for concern, says Hannah Linden, MD. Linden is a medical oncologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is also a joint associate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. "If you have a lymph node that gets progressively larger, and it's been longer than a month, see a doctor," she says.

Your doctor should examine you and determine any associated issues that could explain the lymph node enlargement, such as infection. If there is no infection, a doctor will typically order a biopsy.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 5: Fever

If you've got an unexplained fever, it may indicate cancer. Fever, though, might also be a sign of pneumonia or some other illness or infection that needs treatment.

Most cancers will cause fever at some point. Often, fever occurs after the cancer has spread from its original site and invaded another part of the body. Fever can also be caused by blood cancers such as lymphoma or leukemia, according to the American Cancer Society. 

It’s best not to ignore a fever that can’t be explained. Check with your doctor to find out what might be causing the fever and to determine its proper treatment.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 6: Weight Loss Without Trying

Unexpected weight loss is a concern, Lichtenfeld says. "Most of us don't lose weight easily." He's talking about more than simply a few pounds from a stepped up exercise program or to eating less because of a busy schedule. If a man loses more than 10% of his body weight in a time period of 3 to 6 months, it’s time to see the doctor, he says.

Your doctor should do a general physical exam, ask you questions about your diet and exercise, and ask about other symptoms. Based on that information, the doctor will decide what other tests are needed.

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