Five most common types of cancer in men

Prostate, Colorectal, Lung, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Bladder Cancer are the highest five cancers affecting South African men.

Prostate Cancer


Prostate cancer begins when cells within the hormone start to grow out of control. The prostate is a gland found in men, people with intersexed conditions and transwomen who haven’t completely transitioned.


The prostate is below the bladder (the hollow organ where urine is stored) and ahead of the rectum (the last part of the intestines). Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the centre of the prostate.


Common warning signs of glandular cancer

  • Pain and/or a “burning sensation” when urinating or ejaculating.
  • Frequent urination, especially during the night time.
  • Trouble starting urination, or stopping urination once current.
  • Sudden erectile dysfunction.
  • Blood in either urine or semen.

Colorectal Cancer


Colorectal cancer occurs when the cells that line the colon or the rectum become abnormal and grow out of control. Because symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer has advanced, it’s important to do regular colorectal cancer screenings.



Colorectal cancer begins when healthy cells within the lining of the colon or rectum change and grow out of control, forming a mass called a tumour. A tumour is often cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumour is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumour means the tumour can grow but won’t spread. These changes usually take years to develop. Both genetic and environmental factors can cause the changes. However, when someone has an uncommon inherited syndrome, changes can occur in months or years.



  • A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhoea or constipation or a change within the consistency of your stool.
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool.
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, like cramps, gas or pain.
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely.
  • Weakness or fatigue.

Lung Cancer


Lung cancer occurs when cells divide within the lungs uncontrollably. This causes tumours to grow. These can reduce a person’s ability to breathe and spread to other parts of the body. Lung cancer is said to be the third most typical type of cancer and therefore the main cause of cancer-related deaths.



  • A cough that doesn’t escape or gets worse.
  • Coughing up blood or rust-coloured sputum (spit or phlegm).
  • Chest pain is commonly worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Feeling tired or weak.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma


Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a form of cancer that begins in your vascular system, which is a component of the body’s germ-fighting system. In Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow abnormally and may form growths (tumours) throughout the body. In Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the affected lymphocytes start to multiply in an abnormal way and start to gather in certain parts of the vascular system, like the lymph nodes (glands). The affected lymphocytes lose their infection-fighting properties, making you more susceptible to infection. The foremost common symptom of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a painless swelling in lymphoid tissue, usually within the neck, armpit or groin.



  • Enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Chills.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired).
  • Swollen belly.
  • Feeling full after only a little amount of food.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Shortness of breath or cough.

Bladder Cancer


Bladder cancer is a form of cancer that begins within the cells of the bladder. The bladder is the hollow muscular organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer most frequently begins within the cells (urothelial cells) that line the inside of your bladder. Urothelial cancer can happen within the kidneys and ureters, too, but it’s way more common within the bladder.



  • Blood or blood clots within the urine.
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Feeling the pressing need to urinate persistently throughout the night.
  • Feeling the necessity to urinate, but not having the ability to pass urine.
  • Lower back pain on one side of the body.


It’s also important to understand other cancers affecting men like HPV related cancers including penile and anal cancer. Over 30 to 40 styles of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) are typically transmitted through sexual contact and infect both the anal and genital tract area, which in some cases, may result in cancer.

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