Gentlemen, you have a lot of responsibilities, manage a lot of moving parts, and take care of your home and family. But, are you taking care of YOU? Men often put off health screenings that could have an enormous impact on their health. Sure, they're not exams anyone looks forward to, exactly, but these screenings are absolutely necessary. Early detection of these treatable, beatable cancers could save your life. Get the facts and talk to your doctor.
For men of average risk with no family history, it is now recommended that screenings for colon cancer begin at age 45. (American Cancer Society). This could change based on your risk for colon cancer however. Risk factors include:
- Family history of colon cancer
- Personal history of certain types of polyps
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- Personal history of radiation to the abdomen or pelvis
Being overweight and consumption of red / processed meat, tobacco use, alcohol consumption and diabetes have also shown links to increased risks for colon cancer.
"There are several different ways your primary care physician can screen for colon cancer, and they can recommend a colonoscopy if needed. There’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed during a colonoscopy," says Dr. Mitchell Machado, a board-certified Oncologist and Hematologist in Orlando.
The leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women in the United States is Lung Cancer. Globally, as well as here in the U.S. it is a fact that the majority of smokers are men. There are criteria now used to screen for lung cancer, and you should discuss this with your primary care provider to determine if you are eligible. Characteristics for an individual to be screened include:
- Being age 55-74
- Have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years
- Either currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years
Dr Machado advocates, “Smoking cessation is a vital part of this process as well, and I encourage patients to set up a dedicated time with their physician to discuss ways to end the habit”.
This is the most common form of cancer discovered in men. Screening for prostate cancer has evolved over many years. Although there are no current guidelines to start screening at a certain age, you are encouraged to start discussing prostate cancer screening with your primary care physician at age 50. (American Cancer Society). However, if you are at a higher risk for prostate cancer, this discussion should start as early as age 40-45. Risk factors include:
- Being African American
- Having a first degree relative (father, brother) with prostate cancer younger than age 65
- Having a known genetic mutation like BRCA in the family
"Screening includes a blood test for prostate-specific antigen or “PSA”. An examination of the prostate by your physician might be done, only if deemed necessary. There are no obvious symptoms of early prostate cancer, which is why it is important to discuss screening for it. If it is found and treated early, the chances of survival are very good,” says Dr. Machado.
Talk to your doctor about these essential screenings. They could save your life.
About Dr. Machado
Mitchell Machado, MD, is an experienced board-certified Oncologist and Hematologist with the AdventHealth Cancer Institute. For more information, visit YourCentralFloridaDoctor.com/Oncology or call 407-303-6772.