More than 700,000 men are diagnosed with cancer each year and nearly 300,000 deaths occur. Over the course of a lifetime, 50% of males will have some form of cancer at least once.
Cancer can strike anyone at any age, however, most cases occur in people 55 and over. In this blog, we'll discuss how to prevent cancer by understanding the risks and early detection indicators.
Understanding the Risks of Cancer
With any illness or disease, there are risk factors. If you answer "yes" to one or more of the following statements, you may be at risk of developing cancer.
- You smoke (cigarettes, pipes, or cigars) or chew tobacco.
- You drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day.
- You have a family history of cancer.
- You have had cancer in the past.
- You are 55 or older.
- You get little or no exercise.
- You eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet.
Now, this doesn't guarantee that you'll develop cancer. However, it's important to keep in close contact with your doctor on a regular basis with checkups and annual screenings.
Cancer Early Detection: What to Look Out For
When it comes to cancer, early detection could save your life. Knowing what to look out for is essential. If you have any of these symptoms with no explanation, reach out to your doctor and notify them of your concern.
- Lumps that you can feel through the skin
- Sores that don't heal
- Changes in the size, color, or texture of a wart or mole
- Blood in the urine, stool, or saliva
- A cough, sore throat, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing that won't go away
- Persistent back ache
- Unexpected weight loss
- Unexplained pain
- Pressure or tenderness in the chest
- Unusual bleeding
- Chronic nausea or gas
- Fever that lasts more than a few days
- Remember, these symptoms don't guarantee cancer, but could also indicate other conditions or diseases. Your doctor should work with you to figure out the core issue and find ways to solve it.
How to Prevent Cancer in Men
Even with early detection and knowledge of the risk factors, there's no way to guarantee that you'll never get cancer. However, you can take steps to minimize the risk of future cancers.
- Don't smoke. Smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancers and greatly increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, kidney, bladder, pancreas and esophagus.
- Limit alcohol to two drinks a day maximum.
- Limit your exposure to sunlight. A little bit of exposure will stimulate your body to produce vitamin D, which researchers think may reduce the risk of a number of cancers. But too much can cause skin cancer. Between 10 am and 3 pm—the hottest part of the day — try to stay indoors as much as possible. When you do go out, always wear sunscreen with SPF (sunscreen protection factor) 25 or greater. If you don't have sunscreen, wear a hat or stay in the shade as much as possible. Having fair skin or having had severe sunburn in childhood greatly increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
- Eat a low-fat, high fiber diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. High-fat, low-fiber diets are at least partly responsible for most colorectal cancers. They also increase the risk of pancreatic and bladder cancers. • Limit foods that are smoked, salted, pickled, or high in nitrates (such as hot dogs and luncheon meats). These foods are associated with increased risk of stomach cancer.
- Limit your exposure to PVCs, tar and creosote. These are linked with a number of cancers, including cancer of the liver and skin.
- Spend some time getting to know yourself and your body. See your physician if you notice any significant changes.
- Take aspirin. Some recent research indicates that people who took aspirin 16 times a month or more were 40 percent less likely to get cancer of the esophagus, stomach, rectum, or colon than those who didn't take aspirin at all.
Checkups & Screenings for Men
When caught early, many cancers are treatable, which is why health screenings are necessary. Health screenings are medical tests designed to detect certain types of cancer, such as colon, bladder, kidney, skin, lung, and prostate. In lung cancer specifically, screenings have been shown to improve survival rates by 1000% when the cancer is found early.
Don't Wait - Get Screened Today
Summit Medical Group provides a wide range of key health screenings and checkups. For additional information or to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call toll-free 800-289-9545 or visit www.summitmedical.com.