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Cancer-Free at Any Age: Checklist for Men

Screening exams can diagnose cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment will be the most effective. Texas Oncology recommends regular screening and/or self-exams for men for prostate, colorectal, skin, testicular, and lung cancers based on the guidelines below.

Adults at Every Age

  • Keep an eye on your skin and check for changes in freckles, moles, and other skin markings once a month.
  • Men should check both testicles for hardened lumps and variations in size, shape, or consistency every month.
  • Individuals should be aware of their cancer risk, which may be higher for those with a personal or family history of cancer, or certain genetic profiles that have been associated with specific cancer types. Screening may need to occur more often or begin at an earlier age for those with these risk factors.
  • Research does not indicate the most appropriate age to begin cancer screening. Patients should consult a physician to make an informed decision about screening, considering the patient’s history and circumstances.

40s

  • Men with a high risk of prostate cancer (African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer before age 65) should discuss with a physician whether screenings are appropriate beginning at age 45.
  • Men with a higher risk of prostate cancer (those with more than one first-degree relative diagnosed before age 65) should discuss screenings with a physician beginning at age 40. Men with the BRCA gene mutation also have an increased risk.
  • Beginning at 45, both men and women should begin screening for colorectal cancer with one of the following: guaiac-fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) annually; stool DNA (sDNA) test every three years; a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a double-contrast barium enema, or virtual colonoscopy every five years; or a colonoscopy every 10 years.
  • People with increased colorectal cancer risk factors should consult a physician whether to begin screenings earlier than age 45.

50s through 70s

  • Beginning at age 50, men should discuss with a physician the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening to make an informed decision about testing. Prostate cancer screening may involve a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal examination (DRE).
  • People ages 55-80 with a history of heavy smoking, who smoke now, or who quit within the past 15 years are at a higher risk for lung cancer and should consider a yearly low-dose CT to screen for lung cancer.

80s and Beyond

  • Men age 80 and older should consult a physician about the benefits and risks of cancer screenings.
Sources: American Cancer Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Testicular Cancer Society, and Texas Oncology Physicians