Cancer accounts for more than 300,000 deaths in men each year. The good news is that for most cancers, the rates for survival are improving each year.
An annual checkup by your physician and your own self-awareness of physical changes are your two best defenses. Regular screenings are also important, as they can detect cancers at an early stage, making treatment less extensive and more likely to be successful. Here are information and recommendations on the top five cancer diagnoses in men in the United States:
Prostate cancer: A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test should be performed every year beginning at age 50, and more frequently for those with a high risk. Risk factors include increasing age, African-American ancestry and a family history of the disease (brother or father). Symptoms may include:
- Urinary flow problems
- The need to urinate frequently
- Pain while urinating or blood in urine.
Recognizing that there is a great deal of debate regarding prostate cancer screening, experts provide information on counseling to allow each man to determine if prostate cancer screening is appropriate for him.
Lung cancer: Smoking is the number one risk factor of lung cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that those at high risk for lung cancer be screened with annual low-dose radiation computed tomography (CT) scans. Early detection of lung cancer significantly improves survival. Symptoms include persistent cough, or coughing up blood (even a small amount), chest pain, hoarseness and recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis.
Colon and rectum (colorectal) cancer: The most common screening test for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy, which should be performed every 10 years beginning at age 50, and more frequently for those with a high risk. The number one risk factor is increasing age. Symptoms include rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, change in bowel habits, cramping pain in the lower abdomen, decreased appetite, weight loss and anemia.
Urinary bladder cancer: The most well-established risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking, which accounts for about half of all cases. A microscopic examination can be done for those at high risk. Symptoms include blood in urine and increased, urgent or irritating urination.
Skin cancer (melanoma): Adults should regularly examine their skin to identify any changes in skin growths for early detection of potential skin cancers. Risk factors include:
- A personal or family history of melanoma
- Atypical or numerous moles
- Use of tanning beds
- Sun sensitivity
- Excessive sun exposure
Symptoms include changes in the size, shape or color of a mole, or other skin lesion, or the appearance of a new one.
At Stony Brook Cancer Center, the Melanoma Management Team treats patients with melanoma and other skin cancers. For more information on our team and treatment options, click here.
Stony Brook University Cancer Center provides expert care for all cancers, close to home. Our 12 site-specific, multidisciplinary Disease Management Teams provide a coordinated approach to cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. For more information about any type of cancer, call (631) 638-1000 or visit www.cancer.stonybrookmedicine.edu.