Most Common Men’s Cancers and Their Symptoms

men runningPrevention is the best cure for cancer. However, symptoms are often vague and are sometimes nonexistent at the early stages. This is one of the main reasons cancer mortality is extremely high among men. In the United States, it is estimated that 323,630 men died from cancer last year. The combination of prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer accounts for nearly half of these deaths.

Over the years we’ve seen a vast improvement in survival rates, even for conditions that are difficult to treat. More people are also able to live beyond cancer. Cancer death rates have decreased by 1.8 percent among men from 2001 to 2011, although there was an increase for certain types of cancers.  Early detection and better treatment options are key to saving lives. 

You may assume that minor health issues like nagging back pain and frequent urination do not require a doctor visit. But think again. Most cancers that are common in men have symptoms that are not always obvious. It’s crucial to stay informed and pay attention to changes in your body. Knowing what signs to look for can help your physician find cancer early when it’s most treatable. 

  1. Lung Cancer

With more than 83,000 estimated lives lost in the US in 2018, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. 

  • Symptoms: This condition may develop before symptoms even appear. Some signs to look out for include coughing up blood, persistent cough, chest pain, noisy breathing, and shortness or hoarseness of breath. 
  • Risk Factors: Harmful chemicals in tobacco are the biggest risk factors for smokers. Meanwhile, exposure to radon gas in the home is a huge threat to non-smokers. The only way to know you are safe is to do radon testing. Eliminate this risk to you and your family with a $10 dollar kit from your local hardware shop, followed by radon mitigation.
  • Screening: There are several ways to detect lung cancer, including sampling sputum to look for malignant cells, examining the lungs with a fiberoptic telescope, and doing a CT scan. Talk to your doctor about screening if you are older than 60 and have a history of smoking.
  • Treatment: Depending on the severity, location, and type of cancer, treatment options involve radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, or a combination. 
  1. Prostate Cancer

Currently the number one cancer risk for men, prostate cancer will affect an estimated 174,650 individuals in the US this year. This condition is also the reason behind around 29,430 deaths in 2018, earning the title as the number two cancer killer (behind lung cancer).

  • Symptoms: There are usually no warning signs of prostate cancer. Symptoms only become likely if the disease is advanced. They include bloody urine, leaking urine, straining to pass urine, and bone pain. 
  • Risk Factors: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after age 50. Black men also have a higher risk than white men. Meanwhile, hereditary prostate cancer accounts for about five percent of all cases. 
  • Screening: Talk to your doctor if you suspect prostate cancer. They may advise a blood test called the PSA test. This is often combined with a digital rectal exam.
  • Treatment: Treating prostate cancer depends on how aggressive it is. Monitoring is often recommended if the disease has not progressed. Other options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
  1. Colorectal Cancer

This disease strikes about 53 of every 100,000 men. Colorectal cancer is the combination of colon and rectal cancer. It is the third most common cancer in men, accounting for an estimated 27,640 deaths in 2018.


  • Symptoms: In its early stages, this condition doesn’t exhibit symptoms. When they occur, changes in bowel habits, belly pain, weight loss, rectal bleeding, and weakness may become apparent.
  • Risk Factors: Colorectal cancer occurs in young adults and teenagers, but the majority of cases happen in those older than 50. Inactivity and obesity are also major factors affecting your susceptibility. Smokers are also more likely to die for the disease than nonsmokers.
  • Screening: Start having a colonoscopy procedure at age 50 (45 for African Americans) and repeat every five to 10 years. You may have to get screened earlier if the disease runs in your family. 
  • Treatment: Options include radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. They depend on how far the cancer has advanced.


  1. Bladder Cancer

Known as the fourth most common cancer in men, bladder cancer kills eight out of every 100,000 and will affect about 61,700 men in the US this 2019. 


  • Symptoms: Watch out for blood or blood clots in the urine, frequent urination, pain or burning sensation during urination, and feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night. Lower back pain in one side of the body is also a common sign.
  • Risk Factors: Tobacco use raises one’s risk of developing bladder cancer. In addition, white people are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with this condition than black people, but the latter is twice as likely to die from it. Chronic bladder issues and personal history also lead to the disease.
  • Screening: Healthcare providers use urine tests, cystoscopy (seeing inside the body using a cystoscope), and biopsy to diagnose bladder cancer. You may also have to take a CT scan or MRI.
  • Treatment: Different types of bladder cancer require different treatment options. The most common are surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation. Targeted therapy is another procedure that strikes the tumor’s specific proteins, genes, or the environment that contributes to its growth and survival. It aims to block the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells.


You can significantly decrease your risk of developing these types of cancer if you know what to avoid. If you are aware of what is normal for your body, you’ll easily know when something is not right and have it checked. Realize that you shouldn’t ignore persistent back pain, coughing, or any health issue. Ultimately, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and having an active lifestyle can boost your defense against any disease. 

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