Symptom 3: Changes in the Testicles
Testicular cancer occurs most often in men aged 20 to 39. The American Cancer Society recommends that men get a testicular exam by a doctor as part of a routine cancer-related checkup. And some doctors suggest a monthly self-exam.
Yu says that being aware of troublesome testicular symptoms between exams is wise. “Any change in the size of the testicles, such as growth or shrinkage,” Yu says, “should be a concern.” In addition, swelling or a lump should not be ignored. Nor should a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. Some testicular cancers occur very quickly. So early detection is especially crucial. Yu recalls a young man who waited until his testicle was the size of a grapefruit before coming in for help. “If you feel a hard lump of coal in your testicle, get it checked right away,” Yu says.
Your doctor will do a testicular exam and an overall assessment of your health. If cancer is suspected, blood tests may be ordered. You may undergo an ultrasound examination of your scrotum. Your doctor may also decide to do a biopsy, taking a tiny sample of testicular tissue to examine it for cancer.
Symptom 4: Fever
If you’ve got an unexplained fever, it may indicate cancer. It could also be a sign of pneumonia or some other illness that needs treatment.
Most cancers will cause fever at some point. Often, fever occurs after the cancer has spread from its original site and invaded another part of the body. But it can also be caused by blood cancers such as lymphoma or leukemia, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s best not to ignore a fever that can’t be explained. Check with your doctor to find out what might be causing it and if anything needs to be done.
Symptom 5: Weight Loss Without Trying
Unexpected weight loss is a concern, Lichtenfeld says. “Most of us don’t lose weight easily.” He’s talking about more than simply a few pounds from a stepped up exercise program or to eating less because of a busy schedule. Weight loss is a symptom of multiple myeloma, which Black men over the age of 50 are of particular high risk. If a man loses more than 10% of his body weight in a short time period such as a matter of weeks, it’s time to see the doctor, he says.
Your doctor will do a general physical, ask you questions about your diet and exercise, and ask about other symptoms. Based on that information, the doctor will decide what other tests are needed.