Cancer is a term used for diseases where there is an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. Cancer cells can then prevent the operation of that part of the body, as well as spread to other organs. There is a wide range of cancers which can affect men, and some of the prominent are included below.
Each year about 10,400 people in the UK are diagnosed with bladder cancer, which is the 4th most common cancer in men in the UK. Smoking is one of the most common causes of bladder cancer, and this cancer is more likely to occur in later life.
Symptoms may include blood in the urine, the need to pass urine more often and occasionally abdominal pain (in the tummy or lower back). As with many other cancers, early diagnosis is key in increasing your chances of survival; 80 – 90% of men who have their bladder cancer diagnosed at an early stage live for more than 5 years.
If you are worried or are exhibiting any of these symptoms, then go to the doctor for a check up.
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Lung cancer is the second most common cancer for men in the UK. Around 24,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in men.
It is known that smokers and ex-smokers have a particularly high risk of developing the disease. 8 in 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. However, there are other factors that increase the risk of developing lung cancer disease, for example, exposure to chemicals found in specific workplaces or environments, such as asbestos, radon gas, and diesel exhaust fumes.
Symptoms may include a cough that doesn’t go away, a long standing cough getting worse, unexplained breathlessness, chest infections, coughing blood, unexplained weight loss, chest and/or shoulder pains, an unexplained tiredness or lack of energy. In the case of any of these symptoms, or if you are worried about your risk, do speak to your doctor, or find out more information from the sources below.
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Pancreatic cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, and is slightly more prevalent in men than woman. Pancreatic cancer (cancer of the pancreas, which is based in your upper abdomen) doesn’t usually give rise to any symptoms or signs in the early stages. This means it can be very difficult to detect and diagnose; however, catching the cancer early can greatly increase the chances of survival. As the cancer grows the symptoms it causes will depend on the type of pancreatic cancer and where it is in the pancreas. Example symptoms are abdominal pain, jaundice, weight loss and possibly bowel problems, nausea and vomiting.
Smoking is the only fully confirmed risk for pancreatic cancer, but the risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age, and higher risk has been associated with obesity.
As with other cancers, if you are concerned or want simply to have yourself checked, go to see your doctor.
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Your prostate is a gland that lies underneath the bladder, and surrounds the tube (the urethra) that men pass urine and semen through. Only men have a prostate. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. There are over 47,000 new cases every year in the UK, and more than 10,800 men per year die from the condition. 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
In terms of risk, older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer, and black men are more at risk than others. Often there can be no symptoms until the cancer has spread, so it is vital to both go for regular check-ups particularly when you are over 50, as well as go to the doctor if you experience any symptoms. Possible symptoms may include a weak or reduced urine flow, a need to urinate frequently, difficulty or pain when passing urine, pain in the testicles, or blood in the urine or semen. However, there are a number of benign (i.e. non-cancer) conditions of the prostate which can cause similar symptoms, so it is important to talk to a professional.
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Testicular cancer – cancer of the testicles – is fortunately quite rare. In the UK, about 2,200 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year. It is most commonly found in the age range 15 to 45. Treatments are usually successful with survival rates at 96%, but early diagnosis is key.
There are few known strong risk factors for testicular cancer. However, there is some research which suggests that men with a family genetic history of testicular cancer may be more at risk. Likewise, Caucasian men, men with HIV and men with fertility problems may be more likely to develop testicular cancer.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. Other symptoms can include a dull ache or heaviness in the scrotum (the sac of skin that contains the testicles).
Men with concerns about their testicles should see their doctor as soon as possible and discuss all the facts and symptoms. Early diagnosis increases the likelihood of successful treatment.
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Men can get breast cancer but it’s very rare. Around 370 men are diagnosed each year in the UK (compared to around 55,000 women). Most men who get breast cancer are over 60, although younger men can be affected. Many people don’t know that men can get breast cancer because they don’t think of men as having breasts.
The most common symptom is a lump. This is often painless and is usually close to the nipple, because most of the breast tissue in men is beneath the nipple. However, lumps can also occur away from the nipple and other symptoms may include. Liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing, often blood-stained, a tender or inverted (pulled in) nipple, ulcers on the chest or nipple area and swelling of the chest area and occasionally the lymph nodes (glands) under the arm
If you notice a change to your breast tissue or nipple, see your GP as soon as you can. The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome may be. If you have any symptoms of breast cancer, your GP will refer you to a breast clinic for further tests. Treatment for breast cancer may involve surgery, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy and targeted therapy. These treatments may be given alone or in combination.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation acts as a signposting service to specialist websites containing more detailed information on specific illnesses and conditions. We endeavour to ensure all information presented here is up-to-date and gathered from multiple respected sources. However, the data presented on this website is for general information purposes only. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of this information in respect to specific concerns or questions you may have about your own health. If you are concerned about your own health, it is imperative you seek professional medical advice at the earliest opportunity.