Following on from last week's blog about the cancer checks all women should be doing, this time we're looking at the ways in which men should be monitoring their bodies.
Knowing the warning signs to look out for gives you a better chance of early diagnosis and treatment if there is anything wrong. So take a look at the following checklist and take the time to self-examine, as it could end up saving your life.
If you notice a lump or heaviness that was not present before, or any other changes, then it's worth getting checked out. Unlike prostate cancer, which takes a long time to develop, testicular cancer can grow suddenly in a very short space of time. If you feel like there may be an issue, your doctor will look for problems via physical examinations, blood tests and an ultrasound.
Men tend to ignore breast lumps because many people assume that breast cancer is a female issue. The problem is though that about 1% of breast cancers occur in men, and they're usually diagnosed much later. Even if you're feeling sure that you can't have developed breast cancer, it is better to be safe than sorry – tell your doctor and have it checked.
A nagging cough in non-smokers is almost never going to be a sign of cancer and usually will go away after 3 to 4 weeks. If yours persists though, and if you become short of breath or cough up blood, then visit your doctor as soon as possible. A persistent cough is the most common sign of lung cancer and your doctor can also test mucus from your lungs to see if there is any infection.
Have you noticed that you're losing weight even though you haven't been trying to and haven't made any changes in your diet? It could mean that stress or a thyroid problem is taking its toll. If you lose 10 pounds or more without trying then something could be off; although it's unlikely to be caused by cancer, it is one of the signs of cancer of the pancreas, stomach or lungs. If you do suddenly lose weight then it's worth visiting your doctor because there might be an issue causing the change.
Many men develop problems with urination as they get older; it's common to feel the need to urinate more often, especially at night. Older men may also develop dribbling, leaking or an urgent need to go; or that they might even struggle to urinate. An enlarged prostate gland is often the cause of these symptoms, but prostate cancer can be too. See your doctor to check the cause of the problem - they can give you an exam to look for any issues and they may also recommend a blood test to check for prostate cancer.
Blood in your stool or when you urinate is among the first signs of cancer of the bladder, kidneys or colon. If there is any bleeding at all then it is good to see your doctor, even when you have no other symptoms. Although it is not likely to be cancer, if you see blood when you use the toilet then there might be another health issue that requires treatment, such as kidney stones or an infection.