Hidden cancers preying on dads
This Father’s Day, Professor Wendy Brown is warning dads about the dangers of rare ‘hidden cancers’ that will impact around 5000 Australian men this year.
Many men are aware of the risk of prostate cancer and the need for early detection and treatment.
However, there are other lesser-known cancers that predominantly affect men. These include cancers of the pancreas, liver and oesophagus. These cancers do not have a high profile, but they are becoming more common and they are lethal.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men – 16,665 men will be diagnosed in Australia this year and 95 per cent of them will survive at least five years.
However, less than one in five men diagnosed with pancreatic, liver and oesophageal cancer will survive longer than five years. Men with pancreatic cancer only have a 7 per cent survival rate beyond five years.
Professor Brown said it was important for men to be aware of the symptoms, as early detection was the best chance of survival.
“The symptoms can overlap with others and can easily be overlooked – symptoms like bloating, indigestion, trouble swallowing and unintentional weight loss,” Professor Brown said.
“Often by the time these cancers are picked up, they’re quite well-advanced.
“Sometimes men are reluctant to visit their GP, especially if their symptoms are vague. But if you’re taking antacids every day, that’s a sign something is not right. If you have pain that radiates from your middle to your back, that should never be ignored. If any symptoms persist for more than two weeks, even if you think they’re minor, go and see your GP.
“Dads are important and we want to keep them healthy.”
Symptoms to watch out for:
- Trouble swallowing
- Persistent indigestion & heartburn
- Pain radiating to your back
- Unexplained weight loss
Internationally renowned surgeon Professor T. Clark Gamblin will host a public lecture on the forgotten but lethal male cancers on 2 November 2017. Visit the website for more details.