5 facts all men need to know about cancer risks and prevention
June 17, 2016 | by City of Hope
Maintaining good health and self care is a yearlong mission, and there is no better time than National Men’s Health Week and Month to highlight important information about how cancer affects the lives of men, 40 percent of whom will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.
For American men, the three most common cancers are prostate, lung and colorectal, and unlike other racial groups, Hispanic men are at greater risk of colorectal cancer than they are lung cancer, which remains the leading cause of death for all races. Skin and bladder cancers are also prevalent among men.
While survival rates beyond a cancer diagnosis continue to rise, more can be done to keep men informed about signs, risks and prevention, starting with the five key points below.
1. Prevention starts with prioritizing a healthy lifestyle.
- Regular exercise is essential. Making time for at least two and a half hours of leisure-time physical activity each week can lower a man’s risk of cancer.
- Keeping alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day will have similar impact.
- Avoid or quit durg and tobacco use.
2. Diet matters.
- We all know that eating healthier can have a profound effect on our physical and psychological well-being, but it also serves as a cancer preventative.
- Limiting foods and drinks that are high in calories, salt, sugar and fat makes a big difference, as does building a diet around fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
3. Timely vaccinations enhance prevention.
Immunizations aren’t just for kids and international travelers.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccines, especially for older adults, those with chronic health conditions and pregnant women, plus periodic tetanus boosters throughout adulthood.
- Since their immune systems have weakened, most men age 60 and older should add pneumococcal vaccines and vaccines for protecting against shingles to their ongoing health plan.
- And younger men are not exempt - the CDC recommends that men up to 26 years of age get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine.
- Additionally, men with certain jobs (such as in health care) or those with existing health conditions may need additional immunizations, or may need to avoid specific vaccines.
A doctor’s input is essential to determine which vaccinations would be of most benefit.
4. Treatment actually starts with heightened self-awareness.
We know our own bodies better than anyone, so we’re our own best watchdogs and advocates.
Certain changes in the body can function as a cancer warning sign, if we stay attuned to them. Symptoms such as these indicate the need for specialized care. This could be:
- A change in urinary or bowel habits (including the appearance of blood)
- A persistent or bloody cough
- New or changing skin moles
- Excessive fatigue or pain
- Strange lumps
- A sudden loss of weight or appetite
5. Screenings save lives.
Even without demonstrable symptoms, men can dramatically increase their chances for successful treatment by beginning to screen for certain cancers around age 50, with special focus on catching colon, prostate or lung cancer early.
If there is a history of cancer in the family, such as melanoma of the skin, it may make sense to begin regular screenings even earlier in life.
The bottom line is that spotting cancer soon enough can make the difference between survival and death.
More than 800,000 American men will be diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and an estimated 36 percent of those will lead to fatality. Cancer mortality rates are higher for men than for women, and men have their own unique set of health-related hot spots and concerns. But there is much that can be done to reduce the risks.
If you are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.
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