A word of encouragement to all the men out there: Preventive cancer screenings save lives and keep families together longer. Nearly 4 out of 10 men will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, but studies suggest men are more likely to avoid cancer screenings than women.
“Some men think there’s no need to seek medical care unless they feel seriously ill,” said Misagh Karimi, M.D., a medical oncologist at City of Hope | Newport Beach. “Others may just feel uncomfortable or embarrassed talking about prostate or colorectal cancers. It’s normal to be a little nervous about going to the doctor, but checking the body for cancer before there are symptoms can make a big difference. Many of the most common cancers in men have a high rate of cure when they’re found at an early stage.”
Undergoing screening tests that are right for you is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your chances of getting certain kinds of cancer. Age, family history and other risk factors determine when cancer screening is recommended.
In 2020, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers accounted for approximately 43% of all cancers diagnosed in men. The current screening recommendations are:
- Prostate cancer: Men between the ages of 55 and 69 should decide individually about getting a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test, in consultation with their doctor.
- Lung cancer. Men 55 years of age or older with a history of smoking should ask their physician about annual lung screening. Learn more about City of Hope's state-of-the-art low-dose computed tomography lung screening program.
- Colorectal cancer. Regular screenings for colorectal cancer are recommended for men starting at age 45.
- Breast cancer. Mammograms are not ordinarily offered to men, but one may be recommended if the man has a genetic mutation associated with breast cancer or a family history of the disease. While rare, 1 in 100 breast cancers are diagnosed in men. Report any unusual lumps in the breast or worrisome changes to the nipple or the skin around the breast.
“Talk with your physician to determine when you should start screening and to develop a personalized strategy for cancer prevention,” Karimi said. Men who are at increased risk of cancer on account of their personal or family medical history may have different screening recommendations than men of average cancer risk.
City of Hope | Newport Beach offers world-class cancer care, backed by our pioneering research and delivered with uncompromising compassion. Call 949-763-2204 or click here to make an appointment.