15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore (cont.)
Your doctor will examine you and figure out 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
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. But it 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 it and if anything needs to be done.
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 short time period such as a matter of weeks, it's time to see the doctor, he says.
Your doctor will do a general physical, 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.
Cancer Symptom in Men No. 7: Gnawing Abdominal Pain and Depression
"Any guy 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 can include jaundice or a change in the stool color, often a gray color.
Cancer Symptom in Men No. 8: Fatigue
Fatigue is another vague symptom that could point to cancer in men. But a host of other problems could cause it as well. Like fever, fatigue can set in after the cancer has grown. But it may also happen early in cancers such as leukemia or with some colon or stomach cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you often feel extremely tired and it doesn't get better with rest, check with your doctor. The doctor will evaluate it along with any other symptoms in order to determine what's causing it and what can be done about it.
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 -- 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. That kind of cough warrants a visit to the doctor. It could be a symptom of cancer, or it could indicate some other problem such as chronic bronchitis or acid reflux.
Your doctor will take a careful history, examine your throat, check how your lungs are functioning, and, especially if you are a smoker, perhaps 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 learn to live with 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, could 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 will take a careful history and possibly order a chest X-ray. The doctor may also send you to a specialist for an upper endoscopy to examine your esophagus and upper GI tract.
Cancer Symptom in Men No. 11: Changes in the Skin
You should be alert to not only changes in moles -- a well-known sign of potential skin cancer -- but also changes in skin pigmentation, says Mary Daly, MD. Daly is an oncologist and head of the department of clinical genetics at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
She also says that suddenly developing bleeding on your skin or excessive scaling are reasons to check with your doctor. It's difficult to say how long is too long to observe skin changes, but most experts say not to wait longer than several weeks.
To find out what's causing the changes, your doctor will take a careful history and perform a careful physical exam. The doctor may also order a biopsy to rule out cancer.
Cancer Symptom in Men No. 12: Blood Where It Shouldn't Be