When it comes to the treatment and prevention of cancer, early detection is the key between a quick recovery and a long and difficult battle. However, for patients to have their cancer detected at an early stage, they must first visit the doctor when symptoms of the disease first begin to manifest. As a family dentist in Portland, Dr. Todd Beck conducts a routine oral cancer screening as part of every checkup. But for some patients, getting a cancer screening when not part of another exam just isn’t something they willingly do, especially among men.
For many men, the idea of going to the doctor can seem arduous and unnecessary. This kind of overly macho attitude of refusing to admit an illness can provide a disease like cancer with the time it needs to spread to other parts of the body. When caught at an early stage, patients have many more treatment options for dealing with cancer, which means they have better odds for a cure. After the disease spreads, a patient’s chance of survival greatly diminishes.
In men, some symptoms of cancer specifically involve certain parts of the body and could directly point to the possibility of cancer, while other symptoms are vague. For example, some types of pain that affect various parts of the body could have several explanations, and may or may not be a sign of cancer. Here are five types of cancer symptoms that men typically ignore.
Oral Sores That Never Heal
Considering the beating our mouthes take, it’s not uncommon for cuts and sores to occasionally appear along the inner lining of our cheeks. However, when these blemishes refuse to go away, they could be a sign of oral cancer. Despite the lower rate of diagnosis, oral cancer has a significantly higher mortality rate when compared to many other forms of cancer, such as prostrate and skin cancer. That’s because too many patients ignore the potential warning signs of oral cancer and refuse to seek out a medical opinion. So if you notice an oral sore that’s surrounded by a whitish ring that refuses to heal, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beck.
Mass in the Breast
For most men, the idea of developing breast cancer never crosses their mind. While not common in men, breast cancer accounts for several hundred deaths each year in men, according to the American Cancer Society. However, just because breast cancer is rare in men doesn’t mean the develop of a mass doesn’t need to be examined by a doctor. In addition to a mass, other troublesome signs could that indicate cancer include: skin puckering, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, and scaling or redness of the breast or nipple.
The older people get, the more aches and pains they experience on a daily basis. Even though pain might seem like a vague symptom, in certain cases it can be an early sign of some forms of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that a physician examine any type of persistent pain you may experience. Even if your pain doesn’t originate from cancer, you can still receive assistance determining the cause and proper treatment from your doctor.
Men between the ages of 20 and 39 are mostly likely to develop testicular cancer. Men in this age range should undergo a testicular exam as part of a routine cancer screening, and perform a self-examination every six months. Men should not ignore any change in size, lumps, swelling, or feelings of heaviness in the scrotum. Some types of testicular cancer progress very quickly, making early detection especially important. Despite any feelings of embarrassment a man might feel, it’s important that any changes in the testicles be discussed with a doctor.
Changes in the Lymph Nodes
Any lumps or swelling in the lymph nodes, whether located under the armpit or in the neck, could be a reason for concern. If a lump in a lymph node continues to grow progressively larger for over one month, you need to have it examined by a doctor. During your examine, the doctor will attempt to determine any potential issues that could explain the enlargement, such as an infection, and will most likely order a biopsy if no infection is discovered.
Unexplained Weight Loss
No matter how beneficial it might be, unexpectedly losing weight is cause for concern. Minor weight loss, such as a few pounds, can usually be attributed to a change in diet or increased exercise. However, if a man begins to lose over 10 percent of his body weight within a three to six month window, he needs to see a doctor.\
The risk of cancer is very real. As your family dentist in Portland, Dr. Todd Beck wants all of his patients to live a happy, cancer-free existence. Don’t make getting screened for cancer something you put off until it’s too late.