Decoding cancer in men
Cancer is a debilitating disease that starts in any organ or tissue of the body that grows abnormally and uncontrollably beyond their usual boundaries and spreads to other organs.
BENGALURU : Cancer is a debilitating disease that starts in any organ or tissue of the body that grows abnormally and uncontrollably beyond their usual boundaries and spreads to other organs. That said, cancer is perhaps the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths or more every year. While breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancer are the most common types of cancer in women, lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer are the most common types in men. Here is some information on the most common cancers affecting men:
The prevalence of prostate cancer has been on a surge lately. This cancer develops in the tissues of the prostate gland and may eventually interfere with the urinary system and its functions. While prostate cancer might not show any symptoms upto the advanced stage, some common symptoms are bone pain, blood in urine, and feeling of strain when passing urine. That said, prostate cancer can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and by not smoking.
Although smoking is the primary risk factor for lung cancer, it can affect anybody regardless of smoking habits. Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer of all and is most likely to be triggered by environmental pollution, chewing tobacco, and exposure to dangerous carcinogenic compounds. The common symptoms of lung cancer include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, hoarseness, noisy breathing, change in sputum, and coughing up blood.
Colorectal cancer is the cancer of the colon or rectum that primarily affects men and women of older age groups. Obesity, smoking, and inflammatory bowel disease can increase the risk of this cancer in individuals. Other factors like a family history of colorectal cancer, physical inactivity, age, low intake of fiber rich food, and excessive intake of processed and red meats are likely to increase the risk of this cancer. Symptoms like belly pain, rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, and weight loss may be noticeable. It is advisable for men aged 50 and above to repeatedly get screened for colorectal health every 5 to 10 years and ensure early detection and proper treatment.
It’s important to distinguish liver cancer from metastases to the liver, as liver cancer refers to cancer that has spread to the liver from other regions of the body. The symptoms of liver cancer include jaundice, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Preventive measures like limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly, eating healthy, weight management, and protecting yourself from getting infected with hepatitis B and C viruses will reduce the risk of liver cancer.
The author is director, medical oncology and hemato oncology, Fortis Cancer Institute,