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Cancer Health Center

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15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore

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

Swollen lymph nodes, small bean-shaped glands found in your neck, armpits, and other places, often 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, Meyers says.

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, your doctor may want to check you for throat or stomach cancer. He’ll start 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

You can take care of most cases of heartburn with changes to your diet, drinking habits, and stress levels. If that doesn’t help, ask your doctor to look into your symptoms. Heartburn that doesn't go away or gets worse could mean stomach or throat cancer.

8. Mouth Changes

If you smoke or chew tobacco, you have a higher risk of mouth cancer. Keep an eye out for white or red patches inside your mouth or on your lips. Talk to your doctor or dentist about tests and treatments.

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.

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