American Cancer Society Encourages Men to Get the Facts About Cancer

This Father’s Day, the American Cancer Society reminds men of the importance of cancer awareness. Colon, lung, and skin cancers can be prevented, and men should be informed of the risks related to prostate cancer screening.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men. Smoking is the cause of more than 80 percent of all lung cancers and more than 30 percent of all cancers. The health benefits of quitting are immediate, even for long-term smokers.

Colon cancer is the third most deadly cancer for men, and it is highly preventable through screening where pre-cancerous polyps can be removed before becoming cancerous. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women age 50 and older be screened for colon cancer. While colon cancer deaths have been decreasing over the past two decades due to increased screening rates, still about 50 percent of people over the age of 50 do not seek screening.

Skin cancers are the most commonly diagnosed cancer. While most skin cancers are easily treated, melanoma can be serious. Sun exposure is a factor in most skin cancers and men are encouraged to avoid damage to the skin such as tanning and sunburns. Many of the more than two million skin cancers that are diagnosed every year could be prevented by protecting the skin from intense sun exposure and by avoiding indoor tanning.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (besides skin cancer) and most occurs in men over the age of 65. Having one or more close relatives with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of having it. For reasons still unknown, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Because most prostate cancers are slow-growing and the treatment for the disease can be risky, the American Cancer Society recommends that men age 50 and older make an informed decision with their doctor about whether or not to be tested for the disease. African-American men, or men with a family history of prostate cancer, should receive this information at age 45. Men should not be tested without learning about the risks associated with testing and treatment.

This Father’s Day, the American Cancer Society encourages men to get the facts about cancer. Call 1-800-227-2345 for more information or find us on the web at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/FindCancerEarly/MensHealth/index

Man to Man: Coping with Prostate Cancer

By Alex Ulmer

With Father’s Day fast approaching, now is the perfect time to show the men in your life how much you value them. Remind them to speak to their doctor about prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men.  The American Cancer Society estimates that 1,470 men in the state of Nebraska were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010.  If caught early, prostate cancer is very treatable.  However, because this cancer develops so slowly, it may be difficult to diagnose without proper testing.  For this reason, it’s vital to know your risk factors:

  • Are you over age 50?
  • Are you African American?
  • Do you have a father, brother, or son who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65?
  • Are you obese?

Don Hoes, a three year prostate cancer survivor, now volunteers as a Man to Man coordinator.

Still, even if prostate cancer is caught early, it can be a physically and emotionally trying experience.  That’s why the American Cancer Society sponsors a program called Man to Man.

Man to Man is a program that helps men cope with prostate cancer by offering community-based education and support for patients and their family members.

A core component of the program is the self-help and/or support group. Volunteers organize these free monthly meetings where speakers and participants learn and discuss information about prostate cancer, treatment, side effects, and how to cope with prostate cancer and its treatment.

“Cancer diagnosis is very shocking and stressful,” said Don Hoes, a three year prostate cancer survivor and Man to Man coordinator.  “It’s comforting and helpful to discuss it with others who have gone through it and understand how others have dealt with it.”

Hoes was fortunate to have friends that had similar experiences, but didn’t have the benefit of the Man to Man program.  “It didn’t exist. Or, at least, I wasn’t aware of it, or I would have used it.”

According to Hoes, this program can help in a way doctors may not be able to.  “Doctors generally do a fine job describing the situation to patients, but they may be focused on only the treatments with which they are familiar.”  Man to Man coordinators, like Hoes, are trained by the American Cancer Society and are very knowledgeable about today’s treatments, testing procedures and side effects.

This program goes beyond simply informing men about their treatment and testing options.  It also helps them cope with the fear, an issue Hoes says men struggle with the most.  “Not only fear of survival, but fear of treatments, loss of functionality – bladder and sexuality.  I think men are also afraid of sharing feelings and fears.  They don’t always seek answers or information that would help.”

The best way to combat prostate cancer is to talk with your doctor about early testing.  The American Cancer Society suggests that men 50 and above consider getting a prostate examination.  This process should begin at age 45 if you are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer.  “Early diagnosis has consistently proven to be the key to long term survival,” said Hoes.

With your support and the support of Man to Man volunteers like Don Hoes, prostate cancer testing and treatment can be a much less scary experience for the men in our lives. “The Man to Man program is excellent!” Hoes said. “I commend the ACS for sponsoring it!”

Remember that June 13-19 is Men’s Health week. On Father’s Day, give yourself the reassurance that comes from knowing your loved ones are doing all they can to take care of themselves. Remind the men in your life to visit with their doctor about prostate cancer screening.

American Cancer Society Recognizes Men’s Health Awareness Week

The American Cancer Society would like to remind all men that June 13-19 is Men’s Health Awareness week.  This is the perfect opportunity to remind male friends and family about the importance of talking to their doctor about cancer screenings and prevention.  Make sure you’re aware of the cancers that affect men as well as the risk factors and how you can check to see if you’re at risk.  Following are some guidelines for some of the most prevalent cancers in men:

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer begins in either the colon or the rectum.  While we do not know the exact cause of most colorectal cancers, there are certain known risk factors.  To determine if you’re at risk, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a family history of colorectal cancer?
  • Have you ever suffered from intestinal polyps?
  • Do you have a history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease?
  • Are you over 50 years old?
  • Do you eat lots of red meat such as beef, pork, lamb or processed meat?
  • Are you physically inactive?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you use tobacco?
  • Do you average more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day?

Beginning at age 50, men should talk with their doctors about the benefits of testing for colorectal cancer.  If this cancer is found in the earliest stages, the survival rate is 90 percent.  Avoid colon cancer completely by getting tested early.

Prostate cancer:
Prostate cancer begins in the prostate gland.  Prostate cancer is very treatable if found right away.  To determine your risk for prostate cancer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you over age 50?
  •  Are you African American?
  •  Do you have a father, brother, or son who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65?
  •  Are you obese

Beginning at age 50, men should talk with their doctors about the risks and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening to decide if it’s right for them.  African American as well as those who have a strong family history of prostate cancer should begin this discussion at age 45.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women.  To see if you’re at risk for lung cancer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you smoke tobacco?
  • Do you now or have you ever worked around asbestos?
  • Are you or have you been exposed to radon?
  • Have you been exposed to Uranium, Arsenic or Vinyl chloride
  •  Do you smoke marijuana? 
  •  Are you now or have you been regularly exposed to secondhand smoke?
  •  Do you have family members who have had lung cancer?

Reduce your risk by not smoking or using tobacco products, and by avoiding secondhand smoke.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. More than 2 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in theUnited States. That’s more than all other cancers combined. The number of skin cancer cases has been going up over the past few decades.  To determine if you’re at risk for skin cancer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you or have you used tanning beds or sunlamps?
  • Do you have pale skin and blond or red hair?
  • Do you sunburn easily or have many freckles?
  •  Did you have severe sunburns as a child? 
  •  Do you have many or unusually shaped moles?
  •  Do you live in a southern climate or at a high altitude?
  •  Do you spend a lot of time outdoors?
  •  Have you ever had radiation treatment? 
  •  Has anyone in your family had skin cancer?
  •  Do you have a weakened immune system 
  • Have you been exposed to Arsenic, Coal tar, Paraffin or Radium?

Skin cancer, when detected in its earliest stages and treated properly, is highly curable. Always use sunscreen and limit or avoid exposure to ultraviolet rays during the midday hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The American Cancer Society reminds men that they can stay well and live longer, healthier lives by taking a few simple steps:

  • Regular doctor visits: A routine physical is the perfect time for men to ask their doctor about other ways to remain healthy.
  • Physical activity: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week.
  • Healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Know your family history: With Father’s Day approaching quickly, now is a great time to talk with your father and other male family members about your family history and the possibility of cancer testing.