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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. 14: Urinary Problems

As men age, urinary problems become more frequent, says Yu. Those problems include the following:

  • The urge to urinate more often,especially at night
  • A sense of urgency
  • A feeling of not completely emptying the bladder
  • An inability to start the urine stream
  • Urine leaking when laughing or coughing
  • A weakening of the urine stream

"Every man will develop these problems as he gets older," Yu says. "But once you notice these symptoms, you should seek medical attention." That's especially true if the symptoms get worse.

Your doctor should do a digital rectal exam, which will tell him whether the prostate gland is enlarged or has nodules on it. The prostate gland often enlarges as a man ages. It’s most often caused by a noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. 

Your doctor may discuss doing a blood test to check the level of prostate-specific antigen or PSA. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland, and the test is used to help determine the possibility of prostate cancer. 

If the doctor notices abnormalities in the prostate or if the PSA is higher than it should be, your doctor may refer you to a urologist and perhaps order a biopsy. Prostate cancer may be present even with a normal PSA level.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 15: Indigestion

Many men, especially as they get older, think "heart attack" when they get bad indigestion. But persistent indigestion may point to cancer of the esophagus, throat, or stomach. Persistent or worsening indigestion should be reported to your doctor.

Your doctor should take a careful history and ask questions about the indigestion episodes. Based on the history and your answers to the questions, the doctor will decide what tests are needed.

Reviewed on August 13, 2012

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