Common Cancers in Men


By Dr Khushboo Shah Sawant

After having covered the various forms of tumours and abnormal growths followed by a detailed section dedicated to breast cancer followed by the common gynaecological cancers which were primarily dedicated to women, this time we shall cover some common cancers seen among men with some basic information regarding the same. Once again we shall describe cancer. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, which may be triggered due to various reasons. Today we will be covering forms of cancers, some of which are seen both in men as well as women; where the occurrence is far more common in men as compared to the women.

We first being with ‘oral cancer’, also known as the ‘mouth cancer’.  As the name suggests, the cancer begins in the mouth and commonly affects the parts of the mouth like the inner lining if the cheeks, the floor of the mouth, the gums and also the roof of the mouth. Mouth cancer is one of the fastest growing forms of cancer and tends to spread very rapidly. The causes of mouth cancer are mostly linked to consumption of tobacco. The consumption may be in any forms right from smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco directly, or chewing it in the forms of gutkha, pan etc. Heavy alcohol consumption is also linked to the occurrence of mouth cancer. Other risk factors include a chronic or long standing irritation in the mouth for e.g. Rough teeth, dentures, filling etc. or a history of infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), or even poor oral and dental hygiene.  Oral cancers show their symptoms in the form of a lump or a persistent ulcer in the mucous lining of the mouth which may be deep seated in the inner lining of the mouth, may have hard borders, painless at first but may begin to have a burning sensation as the cancer advances. Other symptoms may be – problem in chewing food, sores in the mouth which may bleed, pain while swallowing, difficulty in speaking, weight loss etc. The diagnosis may be confirmed after examination and a biopsy of the tongue or the ulcer. Treatment options depend upon the progress of the cancer, the affected part may be surgically removed or radiation or chemotherapy may be advised. Preventive options obviously include, quitting of tobacco consumption of any form, maintaining oral and dental hygiene, limiting the consumption of alcohol etc.

The next form of cancer is by far one of the most leading forms of cancer, which is lung cancer, also known as pulmonary cancer. It is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer, affecting both sexes but seen more often in men. Lung cancer affects primarily the lungs and may spread to other parts of the body very easily. It is of two variants, ‘small cell lung cancer’ and ‘non small cell lung cancer’.  The single most leading cause of lung cancer is smoking. The more number of cigarettes a person smokes in the day, the more he increases his chances of lung cancer.  Second hand smoking which means breathing the smoke of others also increases the risk. Other factors which may act as risk factors include, exposure to asbestos, or exposure to cancer causing chemicals such as uranium, coal products etc. It usually affects people of older age group mostly above the age of 45, but incidences of lung cancer in the younger population are also increasing. Some of the symptoms include chest pain, persistent cough, blood in the cough, wheezing in the chest, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, loss of weight and appetite etc. Lung cancer can often be found in a simple X ray or CT scan, or a PET scan. Treatment options include, Surgery if the site of the cancer is favourable for removal, or else radiation or chemotherapy are the only other options. Prevention is simple and straight, quit cigarette smoking as soon as possible, and also avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.

Prostate cancer is a very common cancer among males, the prostate gland functions to give fluid to the semen. It is located below a man’s urinary bladder. This also affects older men more often as compared to younger men. The risk factors are not very clear but may be linked to genetic predisposition to cancer, obesity, having multiple sexual partners, history of sexually transmitted diseases, and unhealthy diet and lifestyle etc. The symptoms may be similar the symptoms of a benign enlarged prostate, which are frequent urination, urination at night, difficulty in starting and retaining a steady flow of urine which may cause dribbling of urine, painful urination and sometimes even blood in urine and sometimes pain in ejaculation. The diagnosis may be confirmed by doing a blood test called ‘PSA’ which is prostate specific antigen or by performing a biopsy. Treatment depends upon the progress of the cancer and may be surgically removed or else radiation or chemotherapy may be tried.

So having covered some major variants, and their basic information the final conclusion remains, that though there may not be any confirmed preventive measures to avoid any forms of cancer; maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating right, avoiding harmful things like tobacco, excessive alcohol etc as well as avoiding exposure to cancer causing agents can be our best effort to keep cancer at bay.


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