Common Early Cancer Warning Signs in Men

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The most common cancers affecting men include prostate, bowel, lung, and skin cancers. Knowing the early warning signs of these and other cancers can assist with prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment, leading to the best outcomes.


Different cancers have different signs and symptoms. There are, however, a number of general early warning signs that should be heeded if you have been experiencing symptoms for more than a few weeks. These include.

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Skin changes
  • Change in bowel habits or bladder function
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge

The Most Common Cancers In UK Men

The most common cancers that affect men in the UK are:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Melanoma skin cancer

Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

Many prostate cancers are not aggressive and remain contained in the gland, but some can become aggressive and quickly spread throughout the body. It is, therefore, important to diagnose and treat prostate cancer as soon as possible to ensure the best chances for success. Treating early-stage prostate cancers generally results in a good outcome.


The Most Common Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Include:

  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Urinating often, especially at night
  • Trouble emptying the bladder completely
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Discomfort or pain when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate

Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in UK males. It is preventable in almost 80% of cases as it is mostly caused by smoking.


The Most Common Symptoms of Lung Cancer In Men Are:

  • A cough that does not go away after a few weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Hoarseness
  • Recurrent chest infections
  • Coughing up blood, even a small amount
  • Pain when breathing or coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Headache
  • Bone pain 

Signs And Symptoms Of Bowel Cancer

Recognising the symptoms of bowel cancer and acting on them quickly could mean that it may be diagnosed and treated in the earliest possible stage of bowel cancer. People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much better chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and do not always make you feel sick.


The Most Common Symptoms of Bowel Cancer In Men Are:

  • blood in the stools
  • a change in bowel habit, including diarrhoea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
  • abdominal (tummy) pain

Additional Symptoms Might Include:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • extreme tiredness (for no obvious reason)
  • a feeling that your bowel does not empty completely and
  • a pain or lump in your abdomen

Signs And Symptoms Of Head And Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK and accounts for 4% of cancers in men. Head and neck cancer is a collective term that includes cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx and other sites of the head and neck.

Head and neck cancers are often preventable as the biggest cause of these cancers is the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and snuff.


The Most Common Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer In Men Are:

  • Swelling or a sore that does not heal
  • Red or white patch in the mouth
  • A lump in the head or neck area, with or without pain
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Unexplained foul mouth odour
  • Hoarseness or change in voice

Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer

In the UK men kidney cancer is the 5th most common cancer. It usually affects men in their 60s or 70s.

The kidneys are part of the urinary system. They filter your blood to remove excess water and waste products, which are then converted into urine. About 80% of kidney cancers are renal cell cancers (RCC) which start in the cortex of the kidney.


The Most Common Symptoms of Kidney Cancer In Men Are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Lower back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • A lump on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight
  • Persistent fever

Signs And Symptoms Of Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma skin cancer is the 6th most common cancer in UK men. 86% Of melanoma skin cancer cases are preventable as the two main causes of skin cancer are exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and using UV tanning beds.

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis (the outermost skin layer). It is caused by DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations cause the skin cells to multiply quickly and form malignant tumours.

Melanomas do not always begin as a mole. They can also occur on otherwise normal-looking skin, in both sun-exposed and hidden areas of the body. Routine skin checks can detect early-stage melanomas which are more easily treated. You should look for anything new, changing, or unusual in both sun-exposed and sun-protected areas of the body.

Finding melanoma at an early stage is essential as early detection can greatly increase your chances of a complete cure.


The First Melanoma Signs and Symptoms Are Often:

  • A change in an existing mole
  • The development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth on your skin


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