Men’s Health Monday: Health Screenings for Men

June is Men’s Health Awareness Month. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top three cancer types affecting men of all ages in the United states, as well as some of the important screenings men should be aware of to help stay one step ahead of cancer. 

Screening for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men, and sits as the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that one in seven men will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. 

While over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, tests like PSA screenings and digital rectal exams can dramatically increase your chance of survival.The prostate gland produces a protein known as prostate-stimulating antigen, or PSA.

As these levels are known to rise before other symptoms of prostate cancer appear, it is important to seek out a regular exam starting in the mid-twenties.

Screening and Self-Exams for Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is most common in men between 15 and 35 years of age. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014  8,820 men will be diagnosed, with only about 380 men dying as a result.

Fortunately, testicular cancer is one of the most curable cancers. Men diagnosed and treated when the disease is in an early stage have a 97 to 100 percent chance of being cured. Therefore, early detection is critical – and relatively easy to do frequently, and at home.

The most common way to check is to perform a monthly testicular self-exam. Unfortunately, after noticing a change in a testicle, many men wait several months before seeking a medical evaluation. The disease is then more advanced upon diagnosis, possibly requiring more intensive treatment and potentially decreasing the chance of a cure.

Checking for Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type found in both men and women (outside of skin cancers) in the United States, but thanks to awareness around colonoscopy screenings, the death rate from this cancer has dropped in recent years. Typically it affects people over 50 years old, as well as those those with a hereditary history of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is often beatable when detected and treated in its early stages and can even be prevented altogether when polyps are removed before they develop into cancer. It’s important to know that symptoms of colorectal cancer –  can look like symptoms of other conditions.

Roughly 80 percent of colorectal cancer cases can be prevented with adequate colonoscopy screening – often saving lives. We encourage everyone to begin a dialogue about colorectal cancer screening with their physicians. While no screening test is 100 percent perfect, colonoscopy remains the best method of screening for most individuals.