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12 Cancer Symptoms Men Shouldn't Ignore

Symptoms of cancer in men can vary widely depending on the type of cancer. It's one of the leading causes of death among adult males in the United States. While maintaining a balanced diet can help prevent the risk of some cancers, other factors like genetics can have a significant impact.

The signs of cancer men can often be subtle and easy to overlook. For example, prostate cancer, the most common cancer for males, often has very mild symptoms. Men must pay attention to their health and promptly report any unusual changes to their doctor.

Recognizing potential symptoms early can lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment. Here are some of the most common characteristics of a male cancer .

Don't Miss These: 12 Cancer Symptoms in Men

12 Cancer Symptoms in Men

1. Abnormal Lump

Have you noticed a lump just below your skin? It might be signs of cancer in men. Lumps can appear in the breast, testicles, lymph nodes, and soft tissues. Contact your doctor immediately if you discover one, significantly if it has grown.

Testicular cancer is less common than prostate, lung, and colon cancers, but early symptoms, like lumps, shouldn't be ignored. Men should check for lumps in the testicles monthly for early detection.

Breast cancer isn't just a women's issue. Men are also susceptible to developing breast cancer and should watch for lumps in the breast area, this is especially important if they are on Testosterone Replacement Therapy and not monitoring their Estradiol levels.

If you find a lump, see a doctor immediately. Male breast cancer can be influenced by genetics, radiation exposure, or high estrogen levels and is most commonly found in men in their 60s. Stay vigilant and proactive about your health.

2. Bowel changes

Occasional bowel problems are typical, but noticeable changes in your bowel habits could indicate colon or rectal cancer, collectively known as colorectal cancer. Colon cancer can develop anywhere in the colon, while rectal cancer affects the rectum, the part that connects the colon to the anus.

Symptoms to watch for include sudden and frequent diarrhea or constipation, which might come with gas and abdominal pain. Additionally, changes in the size or shape of your bowel movements could also indicate cancer signs in men. If you experience these symptoms, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional. Although signs of blood in the toilet could be from a number of sources, hidden or occult blood is the basis for a Hemacult or Guaic test that is an important cancer screen that can be ordered by your physician.

Modern genetic testing of a stool sample for signs of cancer activity is the basis of the “Cologuard” test. This is a non- invasive test of a stool sample that also can be requested by your physician.

3. Rectal bleeding

Rectal bleeding can sometimes signal a serious issue like rectal cancer, especially if it continues or causes iron deficiency anemia. Blood in your stools is another potential sign. While hemorrhoids are a more common cause of rectal bleeding, it's important not to self-diagnose. Consult a doctor if you experience these symptoms. It is advised to undergo regular colon cancer screenings from age 45 onward, which can help detect issues early and improve outcomes.

4. Skin changes

Moles, or nevi, are harmless skin growths that can appear almost anywhere on your body, especially on the head, neck, and trunk. However, if you notice a mole changing in size, shape, or color, it could be an early sign of skin cancer. It's crucial to have annual skin cancer screenings to catch any potential issues early, as early detection is crucial in averting the spread of skin cancer.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors or have a history of severe sunburns, be extra vigilant in checking your skin. Watch for symptoms like unusual bleeding, scaling, sores that don't heal, or changes in warts, moles, or freckles. The bottom line: if you spot anything unusual on your skin, visit a dermatologist.

5. Indigestion or trouble swallowing as male cancer characteristics

If you experience a prolonged burning sensation in your throat or chest, it's important not to ignore it, even if you think it's just from eating spicy food. Persistent indigestion or trouble swallowing isn't a normal part of aging and could be a sign of esophageal, stomach, or throat cancer.

Regular heartburn is more than just a sign to adjust your eating habits; it might indicate a problem with your stomach or throat. While foods like spicy dishes, high-fat meals, or carbonated drinks can cause heartburn, ongoing heartburn can lead to severe issues, including inflammation of the esophagus, which, in rare cases, can increase the risk of cancer.

Difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, might result from a sore throat or damage caused by acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, it can also be an early symptom of throat, esophageal, or stomach cancer. If you have persistent symptoms, it's essential to seek medical advice.

6. Persistent cough or hoarseness 

If you've been dealing with a cough that just won't quit for more than three weeks, it might be cancer characteristics in a male patient. 

This persistent cough could potentially signal something serious, even if you're a non-smoker. Alongside the cough, other symptoms like hoarseness, wheezing, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood should prompt you to reach your doctor immediately. Remember, a lingering cough isn't always linked to a cold or allergies—it can sometimes be an early indicator of lung cancer, especially if you don't have other typical cold symptoms like a stuffy nose or fever. Men experiencing coughs accompanied by bloody mucus should be especially vigilant, as this can also be associated with lung cancer. Coughing up blood is usually serious whatever the cause and the patient should seek immediate further diagnosis with a physician.

7. Changes in your mouth 

If you use tobacco products or vape, it's important to monitor any changes in your mouth closely. White patches inside your mouth or on your tongue could signal potential pre-cancerous conditions that, if left untreated, may develop into oral cancer. Pay attention to sores, unexplained bleeding, numbness, or tenderness in areas like your tongue, lips, or cheeks, as these could indicate the need for a checkup. People who smoke or chew tobacco are particularly at risk for oral and throat cancer. 

Don't ignore symptoms such as white, red, gray, or yellow patches in your mouth or lips or persistent ulcers or canker sores that don't heal within a few weeks or respond to treatment. If you notice any of these signs, it's important to seek medical attention promptly.

8. Unexplained weight loss

If you're shedding pounds without changing your diet or exercise routine, it's important to consult your doctor, even if you believe the weight loss is needed. Losing 10 pounds or more without a clear reason could signal underlying health issues like pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, or lung cancer. While maintaining a healthy weight becomes more challenging with age, unexplained weight loss should not be ignored as it may indicate a serious health condition, including various symptoms of cancer in men. If you're experiencing rapid weight loss without lifestyle changes, promptly talk to a healthcare professional.

9. Constant fatigue 

Feeling too tired to enjoy time with loved ones or even after a good night's rest? It could be more than just fatigue. Constant exhaustion might signal underlying health issues like leukemia or cancers affecting the colon or stomach.

Fatigue isn't always just about feeling tired; it can be a forewarning of serious medical conditions. As cancer cells multiply, they can drain your energy, leaving you feeling constantly worn out.

Persistent fatigue is a known characteristics of a male cancer . If you find yourself feeling excessively tired despite adequate rest, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any potential concerns.

10. Persistent pain 

If you're experiencing persistent pain like backaches, headaches, or stomach discomfort that doesn't go away, it's crucial to talk to your doctor. Even seemingly minor pains that last weeks could indicate a more serious issue. For instance, back pain, often a cause of disability, can sometimes be a symptom of cancer. Cancer symptoms may not become apparent until it spreads to areas like the spine. Prostate cancer, one of the common cancers in men, can spread to the bones, leading to pain in the hip bones and lower back. Unlike ordinary muscle pain, bone cancer tends to cause tenderness and discomfort directly in the bones. If you're unsure or concerned, seeking medical advice promptly is always best.

11. Swollen lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands found in clusters around the body, such as in the neck, armpits, and groin. They store white blood cells, which help fight infections and diseases.

When lymph nodes swell or become tender, it often indicates that your body is battling an illness, such as a common cold or sore throat. However, persistent swelling that lasts more than 3 to 4 weeks could signal a more severe condition, including cancer.

If you notice swollen lymph nodes that don't go away, it's important to promptly seek medical attention from a doctor or healthcare professional. They can examine your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment or further evaluation. Taking action early can help ensure you receive the right care and support for your health.

12. Urinary changes

As we age, changes in urinary function, like incontinence, can become more common. Still, certain symptoms might signal something more serious, like prostate cancer, a common cancer for males that is most prevalent in men aged 60 and older. Typical urinary signs to watch for include leaks, incontinence, difficulty urinating despite the urge, delayed urination, and straining during urination. If you notice blood in your urine, it's crucial not to ignore it, as this could indicate bladder cancer, especially common in current or former smokers. Additionally, prostate inflammation (prostatitis), prostate cancer itself, and urinary tract infections can also lead to blood in the urine. For men with early-stage prostate cancer, blood in the semen may also be a symptom worth discussing with a healthcare provider.

While not a definitive diagnosis for cancer, an elevated PSA marker especially if it has recently gone up is cause for follow up with your physician.

The Future

With the development of testing the blood for genetic fragments, we are able to screen for hundreds of cancers that have not been detected until it was too late.

Call (858) 333-5196 for a quick discussion with Dr. Collins who is a proponent of the Galleri test. ( where a person can screen themselves for future cancers with a simple blood test 


Understanding symptoms of cancer in men and seeking timely medical attention are crucial steps in early detection. While symptoms can vary widely, it's important to listen to what your body tells you and consult a specialist if you notice any unusual changes.

At Proactive Choice, our Men's Health services are tailored to address various concerns affecting hormonal balance, sexual health, and overall wellbeing. Whether it's Erectile Dysfunction, Low Libido, or other issues like frequent urination or weight gain, we provide comprehensive care to improve your overall well-being.

Dr. Collins' Supportive Cancer Therapy brings decades of experience integrating nutritional and nutraceutical approaches with conventional cancer treatments. This holistic approach focuses on restoring cellular function and supporting overall health, emphasizing the importance of treating the body and mind.

At Proactive Choice, we're committed to integrating advanced therapies to support your health journey and promote metabolic restoration and holistic wellbeing.

Call (858) 333-5196 today to schedule a free 10-minute conversation to determine whether we are a fit for your needs.

Want to consult a holistic medical practitioner in Oregon? Please take a look at the links below.

Author: Dr. Collins

About The Author: Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins is a Pacific Northwest native and University of Oregon graduate in biology and comparative religions, practicing Naturopathic Medicine. Committed to harmonizing ancient traditions with modern science, he prioritizes holistic patient care in Oregon.


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