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Cancer Symptoms You Are Most Likely to Ignore

Symptoms Men Are Likely to Ignore

Erection Problems

As prostate cancer progresses, a common sign is difficulty getting or sustaining an erection. This can be a difficult subject to talk about, but it's important to bring it to your doctor's attention. It could be a sign of sexual dysfunction with another cause, of course, but it's a reason to have an exam and possibly a PSA test.

Pain/Aches or Heaviness in the Groin, Hips, Thighs, or Abdomen

One sign of prostate cancer is frequent pain in the hips, upper thighs, or the lowest part of the back. Men with testicular cancer report noticing a heavy, aching feeling low in the belly or abdomen, or in the scrotum or testicles themselves. They sometimes describe it as a feeling of downward pulling or as a generalized ache throughout the groin area. Prostate cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes often makes itself known as discomfort in the pelvis or swelling in the legs.

Testicular Swelling or Lump

The lumps that indicate testicular cancer are nearly always painless. It's also common for a testicle to be enlarged or swollen but lacking any specific lump that you can see or feel. Some men report feeling discomfort from the enlargement but not an outright pain.

Scaly or Painful Nipple or Nipple Discharge

Men do get breast cancer; they also get a condition called gynecomastia, which is a benign lump in the breast area. Breast cancer is usually detected as a lump, but if it's spreading inward it can also cause chest pain. Other signs of breast cancer include patches of red, scaly, or dimpled skin or changes to the nipple such as turning inward or leaking fluid. Bring any lump, swelling, or skin or nipple problem, or any chest pain, to your doctor's attention.

Difficulty Urinating or Changes in Flow

Hands-down, the most common early sign of prostate cancer is a feeling of not being able to start peeing once you're set to go. Many men also report having a hard time stopping the flow of urine, a flow that starts and stops, or a stream that's weaker than normal. Any of these symptoms can have less serious causes, but it’s still reason to see your doctor for an exam and a possible screening test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

Pain or Burning During Urination

This symptom can also indicate a urinary tract infection or sexually transmitted disease, of course, but in any case it warrants an immediate trip to the doctor. It's often combined with the feeling that you need to go more often, particularly at night. This same symptom can also indicate inflammation or infection in the prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia, the name for what happens when the prostate grows bigger and blocks the flow of urine. However, you need to get checked out to tell the difference.

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