Common Cancers in Indian Men

Cancer is a life-threatening disease with around 2.25 million people suffering from it in India. The rate of developing cancer in Indian male before the age of 75 years is 9.81% and the mortality rate is 7.34%. It is possible to prevent, screen, detect, and treat cancer at an early stage to reduce the mortality rate.

Worldwide, the most common cancer in men is lung cancer. The top cancers are– Oral (mouth, tongue, larynx), Lung, Prostate and Colorectal Cancers. Here is detailed information on the most common cancers affecting men:

I. Lung Cancer

Though smoking is the primary risk factor of lung cancer it can affect anybody irrespective of smoking habits. It is the deadliest cancer of all and can be triggered by environmental pollution, chewing tobacco and exposure to dangerous carcinogenic compounds. People over the age of 60 years with a history of COPD are at more risk of developing lung cancer.


There may not be any visible signs or symptoms in a patient suffering from lung cancer in its initial stage. However the common symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, hoarseness, noisy breathing, change in sputum, and coughing up blood.


Reduce the risk of lung cancer by quitting smoking and also avoid being a passive smoker.

II. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer accounts for over 30% of all the cancer cases reported in India. As the name suggests, it occurs in the tissues of the oral cavity or oropharynx. More men than women suffer from this form of cancer. Consumption of tobacco and alcohol, ill-fitting dentures or sharp teeth, HPV infection, weak immune system and exposure to the ultraviolet rays cause oral cancer.


A person suffering from oral cancer would have persistent mouth sore which refuses to heal, sore throat, bad breath, voice change, difficult in moving the tongue or jaw, numbness of the tongue and of the mouth or persistent mouth pain. A red or white patch would appear on the tonsils, tongue, gums or lining of the mouth. There may be a lump in the cheek or neck.


Oral cancer can be prevented by avoiding consumption of all forms of tobacco, alcohol, betel nut and areca nut.

III. Prostate Cancer

The prevalence of prostate cancer is low in India but in recent years, there has been a surge in the number of prostate cancer cases. It develops in the prostate gland tissues and may take several years to progress, gradually interfering with the urinary system and its functions. Some of the risk factors of prostate cancer include family history, age, race, eating and drinking habits, genetic changes and exposure to Agent Orange.


Prostate cancer does not show any symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. Common symptoms of prostate cancer are leaking urine, bone pain, blood in urine and feeling of strain when passing urine.


Prostate cancer can be prevented with a combination of healthy lifestyle and not smoking.

IV. Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancers affects men primarily over the age of 50 years. An overgrowth of cells lining the rectum and colon causes colorectal cancer. Smoking, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity increase the risk of this cancer in individuals. Other risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer, history of polyps, physical inactivity, age, low intake of fibre rich food and excessive intake of processed and red meats. Fortunately, colorectal cancer is preventable and is the most treatable of all the kinds of cancers when detected at an early stage.


Colorectal cancer may not show any symptom, especially in its early stage. Some of its symptoms are belly pain, rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, weight loss and weakness.


Men post 50 should get screened for colorectal cancer. This can be repeated in every 5 to 10 years to ensure early detection and proper treatment. Preventive measures include regular exercising, healthy diet, weight management, avoid smoking and limited alcohol intake.

V. Liver Cancer

It is important to distinguish between liver cancer and metastases to the liver. Cancer originating in the liver is known as liver cancer and cancer originated at some different site of the body which has spread to liver would be called as metastasis to the liver. Pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer have the tendency to spread to the liver. Some of the risk factors of liver cancer include chronic hepatitis B infection, hepatitis C infection, excessive intake of alcohol, aflatoxin exposure and a hereditary syndrome called hemochromatosis.


The symptoms of liver cancer include loss of appetite, jaundice and abdominal pain. It also has similar symptoms like pancreatic cancer.


Prevent the occurrence of liver cancer by limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly, eating healthy and weight management. Protect yourself from getting infected with hepatitis B and C viruses.

VI . Pancreatic Cancer

It is one of the most fatal cancers plaguing men. Even though the incidence of pancreatic cancer is lower than prostate or colon cancer but the survival rate is very poor. The 5-year survival rate for stage 1A is 14% and when the disease progresses to stage IV, the survival rate is as low as 1%. The risk factors of pancreatic cancer are chronic pancreatitis, Jewish ethnicity, smoking, BRCA2, diabetes, family history of pancreatic cancer, people carrying any of the “breast cancer gene mutations”, etc. Recently, a relation has been found between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.


The symptoms are often non-specific and may include itching, jaundice, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss. Diagnosis of diabetes unexpectedly may also be a sign of pancreatic cancer as a tumor in the pancreas could interfere with insulin production.


Like other types of cancers, pancreatic cancer may also be prevented by maintaining proper body weight, stop smoking and following a healthy diet.


It is important for every individual to go for cancer screening once a year especially because most of the cancers do not show any symptoms in their early stage.

Nightingales offer cancer screening package for male, which includes seven tests for most common cancers. With our home services, you can avail the tests at the comfort of your house. Schedule an appointment with us at your preferred time and an expert nurse will visit you to collect the sample.

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