AdventHealth Health Hub: The Ultimate Men’s Guide To Cancer Prevention
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Three Simple Tests That Can Help You Beat Common Cancers
Thanks to innovative advances in health care, there are a wide variety of screenings designed to detect all types of life-threatening cancers. This is great news, because, if caught early, many forms of cancer are treatable. For men, some of the most common cancers to watch out for include colorectal cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. By scheduling your recommended screenings, you can catch cancer early and prevent it from developing into a serious health condition.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
A colonoscopy is the most effective way to test for colon cancer and best method for finding pre-cancerous polyps. It’s the only cancer screening that can prevent cancer from developing, as it allows for the proactive removal of these polyps. It is also valuable for the detection of other abnormalities such as ulcers or inflamed tissue. If you are at least 45 years old, have a family history or are experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, you have an average risk of developing colorectal cancer and should schedule a colonoscopy.
Lung Cancer Screening
The American Lung Association projects that at least 7.8 million American men qualify as high risk for developing lung cancer. A low-dose, computed tomography (CT) scan is a safe, easy way to screen for lung cancer and is covered by most insurance companies if you meet the high-risk criteria.
You are at high risk for lung cancer if you:
• Are between the ages of 50 and 77
• Currently smoke or quit smoking within the last 15 years
• Qualify as a heavy smoker
Screening for prostate cancer is important for men, because, if it is found and treated early, the chances of survival are very good. If you are a man over the age of 50 or have a family history of prostate cancer, you are at risk and should talk to your doctor about getting screened. There are two primary ways to screen for prostate cancer.
• Prostate-Specific Antigen Test (PSA)
The PSA test is the best way to first detect prostate cancer. A simple blood test looks for PSA, a substance made by the prostate gland.
• Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
Your primary care doctor gives the DRE test. It involves physically palpating the prostate gland to feel for abnormal texture, shape or size. If your doctor feels an abnormality, you might need further tests to see if it is cancer.
Being Proactive Can Save Your Life
Annual cancer screenings make early detection of disease possible, leading to more treatment options and positive outcomes. Talk to your doctor about what screenings are right for you based upon your individual risk factors and family history. Then, add your screenings to your personal calendar, so you can protect your health all year, every year.