MEN: CANCER SCREENING
IN HONOR OF NATIONAL MEN’S HEALTH WEEK!
Cancer Screening Save Lives
Most men do not openly discussed their health. Surveys show that most men think they are healthy, even if they have a few dire diagnosis. Optimism? Head in the sand? Whichever the consensus, cancer screening save lives. Here are few common cancer guidelines for prostate cancer screening, lung cancer screening, and colon cancer screening to consider. Remember, the information here regarding cancer screening should always be verified with your Primary Care Manager (PCM) aka Family Doctor/Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant, because recommendations for the appropriate age to begin screening do change over the years.
What Is You Family History?
Why is your family history important? Because it tells you, based on your genetics, your risk for certain types of cancers. Therefore, one of the most important thing to know is your family history for cancer. The best way to find out about your family history, is by asking your family historian (you know, that great Aunt or Uncle who tells the stories about everything and about everyone in the family?) If someone in your family had cancer, then it is also good to know what type of cancer your family member had, if possible. This information is very important, because it allows your doctor to consider specific types of cancer risk to discuss with you and best cancer screening approach. There are also some genetic disorders that may increase your risk for cancer.
Remember, if your mother and/or father had cancer, you should begin screening 10yrs younger, or at the recommended age of screening, whichever is younger. For example:
- If mother had colon cancer at 49 years of age, then children should begin screening at age 39
- If Father had prostate cancer at age 71, then sons should begin screening at 40 (if Black/African American), 50 (if non-Black)
Know your body!
I’m adopted and do not know my birth family history. What should I do?
There are many who do not know their family history, not only because of adoption, but because speaking about cancer was considered taboo. If you are in this group – no problem. Just follow the guidelines below. Also, though family history is important, less than 15% of cancer diagnosis is related to known family genetics. Many cancers are “spontaneous” so the guidelines are very helpful.
Cancer Screening Recommendations At Age 20-40
- Colon Cancer Screening: High risk – If indicated per known family history or diagnosis of any condition that pre-disposes you to colon cancer such as; Familial Adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Lynch Syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer/HNPCC), Turcot Syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, etc.,
- Testicular Cancer: There are no specific screening specific for testicular cancer. However, if you note any changes, such as increase in size, be sure to let your PCM know.
- But I’m Too Young: Youth, unfortunately, does not mean cancer is not, or will not be of concern to you. Young adults diagnosed with cancer seem to be on the rise. Read previous blog on that topic HERE.
Cancer Screening Recommendations At Age 41-49
- Colon cancer screening: as noted above. It is most advertised that Colon Cancer screening should begin at age 50. However, if you speak with and/or review the Gastroenterology Guidelines, screening should begin at age 45 for African Americans/Blacks. In addition to the above, screening with a colonoscopy is a reasonable thing to do for baseline. Again, some of these guidelines may not be common, but this information is readily available … Talk with your PCM
- Prostate Cancer Screening: At age 40 All African American/Black male should have baseline prostate cancer screening and the frequency thereafter, be discussed with your PCM. If you have a close family member (grandfather, father, or brother) who had prostate cancer before age 65, then prostate cancer screening should begin at age 45 for all others. There are some controversies regarding risk and benefits of using PSA for prostate cancer screening. However, I strongly encourage everyone that is at high risk to have and know their baseline PSA. Did you know, being African American/Black is considered a high risk factor? Once you know your baseline PSA, continue at a frequency that is acceptable to both you and your physician (annually, every other year, etc.,). See our previous blog about prostate issues HERE
Grant it, I do work in the cancer world, but I have treated multiple men younger than age 49 for with metastatic prostate cancer (metastases means cancer spread elsewhere such as bone, liver, lungs, etc.,). Because of this experience, it does give cause for pause with some of the generalized recommendations. I’ve been told by patients, that the statistics really does not matter. When the number is ONE…that is, the ONE person affected is you, or your love one that becomes the main focus.
Cancer Screening Recommendations At Age 50-65+
- Colon Cancer: As noted above. It is recommended that at age 50, all men at average risk, should begin screening. If you are African American/Black, then you should begin at age 45. Consider all your genetic and family risk, as discussed with your PCM
- Prostate Cancer Screening: It is recommended that all men at average risk for prostate cancer should begin screening at age 50. Prostate cancer screening includes both PSA and digital rectal exam (DRE). Otherwise, as noted above.
- Lung Cancer: Do you have a history of smoking? How much did you smoke? Do you have greater than a 30pack year history (a pack-year is 1 pack of cigarette per day for one year)? Did you quit within the last 15yrs, or an active smoker? If you answer yes to any of the above and 55yo +, then you should have a discussion with your Primary Care Physician (PCM) about lung cancer screening
Men, at all ages, may be at risk for other cancers. If you notice anything different about your body, please do not hesitate to contact your PCM. Men are also diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Guys, if there’s a lump/firm bump on your chest, or you notice something new with a significant other, then the next stop should be with a PCM.
Think about the above seriously gentlemen. You could be saving a life – your own!
Until next time know that,
Life is beautiful and God is awesome. And know, you are pure awesomeness!
Ipsa Scientia Potestas est ——— Knowledge itself is power!
Don’t forget to visit our website … HERE
Queen, Your Family Friendly Cancer Doc!