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How Men Can Lower Their Cancer Risk

June 14, 2022

Whether you are a gym rat, marathon runner, angler, or couch potato, cancer can affect all men in all walks of life. Did you know one in two men will develop some type of cancer in his lifetime? While prostate cancer is most common, there are many other forms of cancer that are prevalent. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the leading cancer types in men are:

  • Prostate
  • Lung & bronchus
  • Colon
  • Urinary bladder
  • Melanoma (skin cancer)
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Kidney & renal pelvis
  • Oral cavity & pharynx
  • Leukemia
  • Liver

Lifestyle habits impact your future health, so limiting unhealthy behaviors and jumpstarting healthier ones is extremely important. This National Men’s Health Week, men at any age can take control of their health and keep in mind these six ways to reduce their cancer risk.

1) See your doctor on a regular basis. Men tend to procrastinate or forget scheduling yearly checkups. In fact, one in four men do not see a doctor at least once a year. Establish a relationship with your doctor, and make appointments for regular physical exams and screenings.

2) Perform monthly testicular self-exams. Testicular cancer, commonly diagnosed in men between the age of 20 to 34, has increased over the decades. All men should self-check their testicles for any pain, discomfort, or abnormal lumps monthly. If treated early, testicular cancer patients have a 99 percent survival rate after five years.

3) Talk with your doctor about prostate screenings. One in eight men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. Starting at age 50, men should discuss prostate cancer screenings with their physician. If you are at high risk, ask your doctor if screenings are appropriate beginning at age 45. If there is an immediate family member with this cancer type, men are encouraged to start screenings at age 40.

4) Check your colon. Colon cancer is the third-leading cancer death in men and is among the most difficult to detect because it lacks symptoms in early stages. Starting at age 50, men should discuss the most appropriate screening test with their physician. If you have a higher risk based on your family history, your doctor may recommend screening earlier.

5) Avoid any form of tobacco and limit alcohol consumption. Cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco have been linked to many different forms of cancer. Lung cancer alone is responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in Texas, having one of the lowest survival rates with only 18 percent of male lung cancer patients living more than five years beyond their initial diagnosis. In addition, men who smoke are around 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer.

Men should also limit their alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown alcohol consumption increases your risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancer.

6) Exercise regularly and eat healthy. Men who are overweight have an increased risk of colon, kidney, and esophageal cancer. The ACS recommends men aim for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least five times a week. Men are also encouraged to make sure their diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but limits the intake of red meat or high-fat foods. A high-fat diet and obesity raise your risk for numerous cancers.

National Men's Health Month is an important time for men to step back and evaluate their overall health status. Make sure to consult with your physician on the best plan for your health.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.