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Five Strategies for Men To Combat Their Cancer Risk Today

Publication: The Pittsburg Gazette

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), men have a higher rate of getting and dying from cancer than women. Among the ten top cancer types in U.S. men in 2024, an estimated 1,029,080 new cases will be diagnosed, and 322,800 men will die. This is why it is so important for men to take proactive steps to safeguard their health.

Here are five strategies men can implement today to reduce their risk of cancer and promote overall wellness and well-being:

1) Prioritize Regular Screenings

Screenings are essential for detecting cancer in its early stages, when treatment is most effective. While these screenings may not always prevent cancer, they can detect abnormalities early on, allowing for timely intervention and potentially life-saving treatment.

Prostate cancer

Statistics show that prostate cancer remains one of the most prevalent cancers among men in 2024, with an estimated 1 in 8 men being diagnosed during their lifetime. Prostate cancer screenings typically involve a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test beginning at age 45 and a digital rectal exam.

New guidelines for prostate cancer screenings for Black men now recommend starting annual PSA screenings at age 40. According to researchers with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, lowering the recommended age for baseline PSA to 40, along with regular screening intervals until the age of 70, could reduce prostate cancer deaths by about 30% in Black men.

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer follows closely behind prostate cancer, with the overall lifetime risk of men developing colorectal cancer being about 1 in 23. However, survival rates are significantly improving, which can be attributed to an increase in screenings.

Colonoscopies can prevent colorectal cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths at an early stage when treatment is usually more successful. For those at average risk, colonoscopies are recommended beginning at age 45. Those at a higher risk with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps should consult with their doctor to determine the appropriate age to begin colorectal cancer screening.

Skin cancer

Per the American Academy of Dermatology Association, by age 50, men are more likely than women to develop skin cancer. This number rises by age 65, with men two times as likely as women of the same age to develop melanoma. Yearly skin checks can help detect and remove precancerous growths, and if necessary, treat skin cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage.

2) Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight

Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and limit the intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and red meats, which have been linked to increased cancer risk. Additionally, strive to maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise and portion control, as obesity can be a factor in cancer development.

3) Stop Smoking

Smoking remains one of the leading causes of cancer, increasing risk of lung, throat and mouth, esophagus, stomach, kidney and bladder, pancreas, liver, and colon and rectal cancers, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. In 2024, an estimated 116,310 new cases of lung cancer in men in the U.S. are predicted, with 65,790 deaths. If you smoke, take immediate steps to quit. Seek support from cessation programs, nicotine replacement therapies, or counseling services.

4) Limit Alcohol Consumption

The more alcohol you consume, the higher your risk of cancer. Excessive drinking can elevate the risk of certain cancers, including liver, colorectal, esophagus, and head and neck. Some studies have shown that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day can increase the risk of stomach and pancreatic cancers. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends moderate alcohol intake, limiting men to no more than two drinks per day.

5) Stay Active

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a growing body of research suggests that regular exercise can help lower cancer risk. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, incorporating a mix of aerobic, flexibility, and strength training exercises for optimal health benefits.

By adopting these proactive measures, men can take control of their health and reduce their risk of cancer. Prioritizing preventive care and making health-conscious choices are powerful actions to reduce a man’s risk of cancer.

This article appeared in The Pittsburg Gazette.

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