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

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Colon Cancer: Family History is Important

This March, the American Cancer Society is encouraging all men and women age 50 and older to make getting tested for colon cancer a priority. Those that have a personal or family history of colon cancer should talk with their doctors about being tested sooner.

“Since colon cancer is preventable, screening is a life-saving effort that we consider a priority,” said Mike Lefler, Regional Director of Communications for the American Cancer Society. Pre-cancerous polyps can be detected and removed during screening, which can prevent them from becoming cancerous.

Colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as colon cancer) is one of only two cancers that can actually be prevented through testing. Overall, colon cancer rates have declined rapidly in both men and women in the past two decades, due in part to early detection and removal of precancerous polyps. However, only 32 percent of Hispanics and Latinos aged 50 and older have been tested (compared to 50 percent of the overall population).

“We have an opportunity to significantly reduce death rates from colon cancer through regular testing,” said Lefler. “However, there may be barriers to screening such as a lack of health insurance or lack of information. We hope that people will use this month – National Colon Cancer Awareness Month – as an opportunity to talk to their doctors, family members and friends about getting tested. By doing so, they are taking a key step toward staying well.”

In Nebraska an estimated 910 cases of colorectal cancer are expected to occur in 2012, and 360 deaths are expected. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Risk factors for colon cancer include a personal family history of the disease.

Now most people with private insurance or Medicare are covered for colon cancer screening tests. Check with your health care provider before scheduling testing to determine if you have any out-of-pocket costs.

There are steps you can take every day to stay well and reduce your risk of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults maintain a healthy weight by being physically active and eating a well-balanced diet. Limiting the amount of alcohol and limiting intake of processed and red meats are also steps you can take every day to reduce your risk of this disease.

Screening for colorectal cancer has been proven to reduce deaths from the disease both by decreasing the number of people who are diagnosed with it and by finding a higher proportion of cancers at early, more treatable stages. Overall, colorectal cancer rates have declined rapidly in both men and women in the past two decades, due in part to early detection and removal of precancerous polyps.

The Society recommends the following tests to find colorectal cancer early:

Tests That Detect Adenomatous Polyps and Cancer

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
  • Double contrast barium enema (DCBE) every 5 years, or
  • CT colonography (CTC) every 5 years

Tests That Primarily Detect Cancer

  • Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or
  • Annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or Stool DNA test (sDNA), with high sensitivity for cancer, interval uncertain.      

Check back with ACSNebraska.org for stories from colon cancer survivors throughout March.

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.