Men’s Health : A guide to cancer screenings

BY AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

IN HONOR OF NATIONAL MEN’S Health Week Month take time to encourage The American CancerSociety is encouraging men to talk to their doctors about appropriate screening tests they need to stay well based on their age and risk factors.

Thanks to advancements in screening test many cancers can be found early, when they are preventable or easier to treat.

Colorectal Cancer

Many colorectal (colon) cancers begin as growths called polyps, and if these polyps are found through regular testing and removed before they turn into cancer, the disease can be stopped before it starts. Start testing at age 50, or younger if people in your family have had colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.

Lung Cancer

The Society does not recommend routine lung cancer screening for people who are at average risk of the disease. However, we do have guidelines for people who are at high risk due to a history of smoking. If you answer “yes” to all of the following questions, you may be a candidate for screening. Talk to your doctor about the benefits, limitations,

and potential harms of lung cancer screening to decide if it’s right for you.

• Are you between the age of 55 and 74 years old?

• Are you in fairly good health*?

• Do you smoke at least 30 packs of cigarettes a year?

• Are you still smoking, or have you quit smoking in the last 15 years?

If you and your doctor decide that you should be screened, you should get a low dose CT scan every year until you reach the age of 74, as long as you remain in good health. Screening should only be done at facilities that have the right type of CT scan and that have a great deal of experience in CT scans for lung cancer screening.

*Screening tests are meant to find cancer in patients who do not show symptoms. To achieve the best potential benefit from screening, patients should be in good health. For example, they need to be able to have surgery and other treatments to try to cure lung cancer if it is found.

Prostate Cancer

The American Cancer Society does not recommend for or against routine prostate cancer testing for men. Instead, we recommend that, starting at age 50, men take the opportunity to make an informed decision with their health care provider about screening for prostate cancer after receiving information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits associated with testing. Testing should not occur in the absence of this informed decision-making. Men at high risk, including African American men and those with a family history of the disease, should have this talk earlier, at age 40 or 45.

Skin Cancer

During your regular checkups, have your doctor check your skin for signs of skin cancer. If you notice any changes to existing moles, tell your doctor right away.

About half of all men in the US will develop cancer in their lifetime. Leading a healthy lifestyle combined with following the recommended screening guidelines can reduce your risk for developing cancer, or find it early when treatment is more likely to be successful. Remind dad about the importance of regular exercise, refraining from tobacco use, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet, and staying safe in the sun.

Find more ways to help men stay well and get well by visiting cancer.org/menshealth or by calling The American Cancer Society anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345.