The 3 Most Common Cancers in Men and How to Lower Your Risk
In June, we celebrate not only Father’s Day but also National Men’s Health Awareness Month. During this month, we aim to spread awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment for men and boys. Use this month as an opportunity to remind yourself and the men in your life that you can lower your risk of cancer through healthy practices and regular screenings. Here are the three most common cancers found in men and helpful tips on how to prevent them:
Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer found in men, with more than 1.3 million new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2018. Lung cancer accounts for over 15% of all cancers. Smoking is the leading cause of all lung cancers, and the statistics are shocking. The American Cancer Society reports that nearly one out of every five deaths are caused by tobacco use in the United States. That’s more than 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Those who smoke die, on average, 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Furthermore, when you smoke, you are not just hurting yourself. More than 41,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are the result of secondhand smoke exposure. So, smokers be aware: You are putting other’s lives at risk, as well as your own.
Quitting smoking and avoiding all tobacco use is the best way to prevent lung cancer. Screening for lung cancer is also available for people with certain risk factors, including those who have a long history of smoking.
Prostate cancer is a close second to lung cancer of the most common cancers in men. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. For reasons unknown, African American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than other races. Having a family history of prostate cancer also increases the chances of developing the disease.
Although these particular risk factors cannot be controlled, there are multiple steps you can take to lower your risk. Prostate cancer has been linked to obesity, so maintaining a healthy diet and body weight and exercising regularly can be positive factors in lowering your risk.
The Prostate Cancer Early Detection Guidelines encourage men who would like to benefit from early detection to receive a baseline-screening exam at age 45 to compare with future tests. After this baseline test, your doctor will recommend the frequency of screenings moving forward.
Colorectal cancer, or cancer of the colon or rectum, is another common cancer found in men. The American Cancer Society reports that overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. It estimates there will be about 100,000 new cases of colon cancer in the United States in 2019.
The American Cancer Society recommends that both men and women with an average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screenings at age 45. Not smoking, limiting consumption of alcohol and red meat, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are all ways to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
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