Liver cancer is a common and serious cancer that affects men more often than women. It is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. Sciencedaily.com reports, "Men develop liver cancer at twice the rate of women in the United States. In other countries, especially in Asia, the rate for men can be eight or 10 times that for women." It has been estimated that 250,000 people develop liver cancer every year. Liver cancer often shows few early warning signs, and it can become serious fairly quickly. However, there are symptoms of liver cancer that anybody can understand and diagnose. Many of these symptoms are common to both men and women, as there are few differences in the symptoms by sex. There are several male-specific symptoms as well. By understanding these symptoms and how they interact, it is possible to catch liver cancer early.
Symptoms Common to Both Sexes
As liver cancer progresses, pain will be felt on the right side of the abdomen, near the liver. This pain will often spread to the right shoulder blade and increase as the liver cancer advances. Other physical symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin and eyes, is another symptom. Massive unintentional weight loss is another warning sign. And finally, worsened hepatitis or cirrhosis symptoms develop. These symptoms should be watched out for whenever liver cancer is suspected in either sex.
Most commonly associated with testicular cancer, testicular swelling can also occur in other forms of cancer. Cancer from the liver can often spread to the testicles. If you have swelling or lumps on your testicles, notify your doctor immediately. Often, men will ignore this problem as the lumps are almost always painless.
Any cancer that occurs in the man's abdominal region is likely to cause erection problems. The genitals are very sensitive to changes in body chemistry and are likely to react when something is seriously wrong. The Mayo Clinic lists several medical problems that cause erectile dysfunction, including heart disease, tobacco use, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and even things like depression and anxiety. A man with liver cancer will often develop erectile dysfunction as his body attempts to adjust to the changes in his body. Erectile dysfunction is an early warning sign for many diseases.
Often, men who are suffering from liver cancer will have enlarged breasts. This would go well beyond the normal size of a man’s breasts and is also beyond normal swelling or bloating that may occur. They will often swell to the size of a woman's breasts and will be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful to the touch. This symptom is fairly strange and not a common symptom of many diseases. This is an important symptom to watch out for if you suspect liver cancer. Ascites, or fluid swelling in the abdomen, should also be watched.
Blood in the Urine
Blood in the urine is another sign of liver cancer. Often associated with testicular or prostate cancer, blood in the urine can also be caused by problems in the liver. When affected by cancer, the liver will often be filled with blood and some of that blood will make it through the urinary tract and out into the urine of the male.
Are These Symptoms Automatically Liver Cancer?
These symptoms aren't necessarily automatic signs of liver cancer. They are often signs of other forms of cancer, including prostate and testicular cancer. However, these symptoms are also common to liver cancer in men. If you have several of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. All of these potential problem areas should be tested immediately if cancer is suspected.