It has been noticed that, Cancer awareness amongst Indian men is quite low, when compared to their women counterparts.
Today, Dr. Anil K. Dhar (Director, Oncologist at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon) helps us with 10 things men must know about cancer in order to catch disease symptoms well before they manifest as serious health issues.
1. Although breast cancer in men is a rare disease, top risks of breast cancer in men include BRCA gene mutations, Klinefelter syndrome, testicular disorders, family history of male or female breast cancer, and high estrogen level which can be a result of excess alcohol consumption, tobacco, less physical activity and obesity.
2. An oral ulcer that refuses to heal after adequate treatment can be one of the biggest symptoms of breast cancer in men. The cause of ulcer needs to be looked in and biopsy is required with immediate medical care. So, if you have a ulcer that refuses to heal within 3 to 4 days, you must show it to the doctor.
3. The most common sign of breast cancer in men is a firm, no painful mass located just below the nipple. There may not be other associated symptoms. The cancer may cause skin changes in the area of the nipple. These changes can include ulceration of the skin, puckering or dimpling, redness or scaling of the nipple, or retraction (turning inward) of the nipple. Bloody or opaque discharge from the nipple may also occur.
4. Difficulty in swallowing particularly solid foods. This may be an indication of cancer of food pipe.
5. Long standing cough which is associated with hemoptysis (a medical condition for blood in sputum). There are many conditions which can give rise to hemoptysis, for example - bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis. In smokers with this condition, the possibility of lung cancer has to be ruled out.
6. Generalized weakness, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss can be early symptoms of many cancers in men.
7. Painless enlarged nodes in neck, groin and axilla are common features of infections and cancers. These should not be ignored thinking they are painless. On the other hand, the patient should be properly investigated and should consult a medical doctor if they feel that their neck is swelling for unknown reasons.
8. Early morning headaches with projectile vomiting may be a symptom of brain tumor. Also, unusual bleeding from rectum and fresh or altered blood in stools, unexplained abdominal pain, bloating sensation in abdomen are also associated with certain types of cancers.
9. Black spots in skin and mucous membrane or unexplained bone pains in elderly patients can be one of the biggest symptoms of cancer in men.
10. Breast cancer in men can be diagnosed by: (a) Radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells remaining in the breast, chest wall, or underarm area after surgery, or to reduce the size of a tumor before surgery. (b) Apart from this, systemic therapy uses anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth. These drugs travel through the bloodstream to all parts of the body. It includes biologic therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.