Cancer is a serious concern for men of any age, but the risk can be particularly critical for men over age 50. PublicHealth.org¹ reports that more than 827,000 new cancer diagnoses occur annually, and many of those types of cancers directly affect men. Knowing the signs of different cancers and what you can do to find them as early as possible could help save your life.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers men can develop – and it’s the second most common cancer in men, according to the American Cancer Society². And the reason lung cancer is so deadly is that it’s difficult to detect. By the time lung cancer is found, it’s already spread widely and is at an advanced stage.

The following are the different stages of lung cancer⁴.

Stage 1: Cancer is located in the lung only.

Stage 2: Cancer is located in the lung and nearby lymph nodes.

Stage 3: Cancer is located in the lung and lymph nodes in the middle of the chest. This stage can also be broken down into Stage 3A, in which cancer is present in lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the cancerous lung, and Stage 3B, in which cancer is present in lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest.

Stage 4: Cancer has spread into both lungs, the area around the lungs, or to other organs.

Because it’s so difficult to find lung cancer before it’s progressed to an advanced stage, it’s important to get regular screenings if you’re at risk for this type of cancer. Even if you don’t have symptoms, the American Cancer Society⁵ recommends a new kind of low-dose CAT or CT scan called an LDCT. This scan can save lives by detecting lung cancer better – and earlier – than chest x-rays, so it’s important to get these screenings.

Pancreatic Cancer

Although pancreatic cancer might not appear to be one of the most concerning cancers for men, it’s surprisingly deadly. Cancer.net15 reports that pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common type of cancer in men, but it’s the fourth deadliest cancer.

Pancreatic cancer takes so many men’s lives each year because it’s very difficult to diagnose. While early detection is key to successful cancer treatment, Cancer.net16 states that there are currently no specific screenings available for pancreatic cancer. This means this cancer can’t be found until later stages, often when it’s already spread and become increasingly dangerous.

The following are the different stages of pancreatic cancer treatment every man should know17.

Stage 1: Cancer is located in the pancreas, and any tumor present is smaller than 2 centimeters.

Stage 2: Cancer is found inside the pancreas and has spread outside of it to nearby blood vessels, lymph nodes, or both.

Stage 3: Cancer is spreading quickly and can be found in nearby major arteries. It may also be in lymph nodes in various locations.

Stage 4: Cancer has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body. Pancreatic cancer typically spreads to the liver, abdomen, lungs, or other lymph nodes in the body.

Although there are no available screenings that can detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, it’s still important to know how this type of cancer can progress. Make sure to stay informed about possible new developments or ways pancreatic cancer may be diagnosed.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a very common cancer in men of all ages. It’s a slow-growing cancer, which according to the Mayo Clinic⁶ can make it difficult to detect as it increases in size before showing any signs of serious harm.

Determining which kind of prostate cancer you have – and catching it as early as possible – plays a big role in your prognosis. Some types may grow slowly and can easily be dealt with, but other forms of this cancer can be aggressive and spread quickly, making it a dangerous disease.

The following are the different stages of prostate cancer⁷. These stages can be broken down into more specific stages, so make sure to speak with a doctor if you’re at risk.

Stage 1: Cancerous tumors are too small to be felt and are often growing slowly. The cancerous cells can often look like healthy cells at this stage.

Stage 2: A cancerous tumor is located in the prostate. Though still small in size, this stage tumor has an increasing risk of continuing to grow and spread to other parts of the body.

Stage 3: The cancerous tumor is growing or is considered high grade. At this stage, the cancer is advancing, growing, and spreading. It can spread into nearby tissues, grow outside of the prostate gland, and can reach the bladder or rectum.

Stage 4: The cancer has spread beyond the prostate. It can be found in the lymph nodes near the prostate, more distant lymph nodes, other parts of the body, and potentially even the bones.

When prostate cancer is detected early, men have a much better prognosis. The Mayo Clinic⁸ reports that if prostate cancer is caught before it spreads beyond the prostate gland, treatments will likely be more successful. This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor about the latest screening options and get regular checkups.

Colorectal Cancer

If you’re over age 50, your risk of developing colorectal cancer is increasing. According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance⁹, this type of cancer is the third most common in America, the second leading cause of cancer death, and primarily affects those age 50 or older.

And cases of this type of cancer can vary, especially depending on the age you’re diagnosed. While it’s common in older men, men of any age should be on the lookout for warning signs or changes that could be symptoms of this dangerous cancer.

The following are the different stages of colorectal cancer, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance10.

Stage 0: This is the earliest possible stage for colorectal cancer. The cancer has formed, but is only in the lining of the colon.

Stage 1: Cancer is starting to spread throughout the colon’s inner lining.

Stage 2: Cancer is located in the colon wall and surrounding tissue.

Stage 3: Cancer is located in the colon lining, wall, surrounding tissue, and has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Stage 4: Cancer has spread to distant areas of the body. It’s common for colorectal cancer at this stage to reach the lungs and liver.

If you’re wondering how you can protect yourself against colorectal cancer, it’s important to get screenings regularly. Because colorectal cancer can hide unnoticed, it’s important to get easy screenings. When found early, this type of cancer is highly treatable – so make sure if you’re approaching age 50 or are older that you check in with your doctor.

Bladder Cancer

As one of the most common cancers, bladder cancer is a disease that the Mayo Clinic11 says affects about 68,000 individuals each year. But what you may not realize about this type of cancer is that it’s much more common in men. Bladder cancer occurs more frequently in men than women, and the Mayo Clinic12 reports that it’s especially common in older men.

While bladder cancer typically starts out small, originating in the cells, it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. And it’s also known to recur, which can make it challenging to live with and treat.

The following are the different stages of bladder cancer13.

Stage 0: The earliest stage of bladder cancer, Stage 0 is usually split into Stage 0a and Stage 0is. In Stage 0a, the cancer is only present in the bladder’s inner lining and can easily be removed. In Stage 0is, the cancer is present in the bladder’s inner lining, but it’s considered a more aggressive form.

Stage 1: The cancer is found in the bladder’s inner lining and the lamina propria.

Stage 2: The cancer has spread from the inner lining into the bladder’s muscle walls.

Stage 3: The cancer has spread from the inner lining and muscle walls into the fatty tissue around the bladder. In this stage, it can also spread to a man’s prostate.

Stage 4: The cancer is found in the pelvic or abdominal wall. It may also spread to the lymph nodes, outside the pelvis, and even other parts of the body at this stage.

Unlike many other types of cancer, bladder cancer is caught in its earliest stages often. In fact, the Mayo Clinic14 reports that 7 out of every 10 cases of bladder cancer are caught early – and when it’s caught early, this type of cancer is highly treatable. In order to make sure you catch it early, you’ll need to see your doctor about screening and testing to seek it out.

Early Detection of These Cancers Is Crucial

These cancers are serious health concerns of men for any age. But if you’re approaching age 50 or are an older man, it’s even more important that you’re aware of the latest news in cancer screenings, detection, and treatment options. As you age, your risk of developing some of these deadly cancers can increase significantly – and it’s important to be informed.

Make sure you’re knowledgeable regarding the latest detection methods, as well as signs and symptoms of different types of cancer that are common in older men. By being informed, you’ll be prepared to spot the signs of cancer early and seek out screenings.