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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. 7: Gnawing Abdominal Pain and Depression

“Any man (or woman) who's got a pain in the abdomen and is feeling depressed needs a checkup,” says Lichtenfeld. Experts have found a link between depression and pancreatic cancer. Other symptoms of pancreas cancer may include jaundice, a change in stool color -- often gray -- a darkening of the urine. Itching over the whole body may also occur.

Expect your doctor to do a careful physical exam and take a history. The doctor should order tests such as an ultrasound, a CT scan or both, as well as other laboratory tests.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 8: Fatigue

Fatigue is another vague symptom that could point to cancer in men. But many other problems could cause fatigue as well. Like fever, fatigue can set in after the cancer has grown. But according to the American Cancer Society, it may also happen early in cancers such as leukemia, colon cancer, or stomach cancer.

If you often feel extremely tired and you don’t get better with rest, check with your doctor. The doctor should evaluate the fatigue along with any other symptoms in order to determine its cause and the proper treatment.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 9: Persistent Cough

Coughs are expected, of course, with colds, the flu, and allergies. They are also sometimes a side effect of a medication. But a very prolonged cough -- defined as lasting more than three or four weeks -- or a change in a cough should not be ignored, says Ranit Mishori, MD, assistant professor and director of the family medicine clerkship at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Those cough patterns warrant a visit to the doctor. They could be a symptom of cancer, or they could indicate some other problem such as chronic bronchitis or acid reflux.

Your doctor should take a careful history, examine your throat, listen to your lungs, determine their function with a spirometry test, and, if you are a smoker, order X-rays. Once the reason for the coughing is identified, the doctor will work with you to determine a treatment plan.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 10: Difficulty Swallowing

Some men may report trouble swallowing but then ignore it, Lichtenfeld says. "Over time, they change their diet to a more liquid diet. They start to drink more soup." But swallowing difficulties, he says, may be a sign of a GI cancer, such as cancer of the esophagus.

Let your doctor know if you are having trouble swallowing. Your doctor should take a careful history and possibly order a chest X-ray and a barium swallow. The doctor may also send you to a specialist for an upper GI endoscopy to examine your esophagus and upper GI tract.

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