September is prostate cancer awareness month. All across the U.S., men should take this opportunity to discuss their risk of developing the disease and whether screening is right for them.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, according to the American Cancer Society; about 1 in 39 men will die of the disease. While prostate cancer is serious, it is generally a slow-growing cancer with good long-term survival rates. At the same time, treatment has significant risks. For these reasons, the view on routine screening has changed.
Experts now recommend that screening be offered to men between the ages of 40 and 54 who are at high risk for developing the cancer; and all men between the age of 55 and 69. Screening is no longer recommended for men over age 70 or those younger than 55 who don’t have a strong family history.
While prostate cancer has received considerable focus in the media, it’s important for men to know about other types of cancer that affect them, either because of their gender, occupations, or lifestyles.
Testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer that mainly affects younger men (between age 20 and 34), although it can occur in older men, too. Risk factors include a family history of testicular cancer; undescended testicle; HIV infection; prior history of testicular cancer; and Caucasian race.
Self-exams are useful for identifying lumps in the testicular region. Be aware of any changes in look or feel and practice self-exam on a regular basis. The survival rate is 95 percent when the disease is caught early.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 14, a statistic that includes both smokers and non-smokers. For men who smoke, the risk is much higher. Black men are about 20 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men.
Like many cancers, lung cancer takes time to produce symptoms. Once those symptoms do present, the cancer is often in a late stage, making treatment more difficult. Symptoms may include a cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse; coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum; chest pain that is worse with deep breathing, coughing or laughing; hoarseness; weight loss; shortness of breath; lung infections; wheezing; or feeling tired or weak.
Until recently, there was no good screening
available to detect lung cancer early. A new test, the low-dose CT exam, has been proven to detect lung abnormalities early, and is now the gold standard for lung cancer screening. It has been proven most effective for those people who have a 30-year pack history of smoking and who have not been previously diagnosed with the disease. Speak to your physician or healthcare provider about whether low-dose CT is right for you.
This is the third most commonly occurring cancer in both men and women. The risk is slightly greater for men. Death rates have been dropping, likely due to effective screening and early intervention as well as improvements in treatment.
Risk factors include diets high in red meats (beef, pork, lamb, liver) and processed meats such as hot dogs and luncheon meats. High-temperature cooking of meats may create chemicals that increase the risk, but it’s not clear how much of a role this plays. Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains are linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Exercise, limiting alcohol consumption and stopping tobacco use can all reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Men and women should begin colorectal cancer screenings at age 50, or earlier if recommended by their healthcare providers.
One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer. Ninety to 95 percent of cases are caused by sun exposure, and most of these are basal-cell and squamous-cell carcinomas. Melanoma is a bit more complicated because there are other risk factors beyond sun exposure. Fortunately, sun exposure is a risk factor you can control.
Many men work outside all day, putting themselves at higher risk for sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer. If this applies to you, be sure to apply a water-resistant sunscreen in the morning and every two hours throughout the day. If you sweat a lot, apply it more often. Be sure to follow label directions for application and don’t skimp! Wear a hat, long sleeves and other protective clothing to shield your face, arms and neck.
Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are strongly linked to developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco in any form, including chew, dip, and snuff, quit. The human papilloma virus (HPV) has also been associated with throat cancer. Fortunately, the HPV vaccine can provide protection against the virus, but should be given between ages 11 and 12. Both boys and girls can benefit from the vaccine so be sure to talk with your children’s doctor about the immunization.
KDMC offers the following screenings to help detect early stages of prostate and skin cancers.
5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13,
King’s Daughters Ohio. Urologist
Christopher Schmidt, D.O.
9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 21
at Tri-State Regional Cancer Center, Ashland
10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Sept. 20, King’s Daughters Ohio. General Surgeon Adam Martin, M.D.
12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday
Oct. 5 at King’s Daughters Medical Specialties Flatwoods, family physician Jane Strader, M.D.
APPOINTMENTS are required
for all and can be made by calling 1-888-377-KDMC. KDMS Tri-State
617 23rd St. Suite 19, Ashland