Men are different. We live differently. We need to take care of ourselves differently. So, how do men prevent cancer?
To reduce your chance of getting cancer, there are things you can do. Here’s the short list.Read More
“Colonoscopy should be done at age 50, if you have no family history, and no other risk factors,” according to Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon and Director of the Colorectal Cancer program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. If you have a family history of colon cancer, and somebody in your immediately family, a first or second-degree relative had a colon cancer before the age of 50, then you should get tested ten years earlier than that relative, says Dr. Murrell
For some types of cancer, race seems to increase the risk and preventative testing is recommended earlier. Dr. Murrell says “a colonoscopy should be done in African Americans starting at age 45. “Colorectal cancer in America is the third most common cancer, and up until recently, it was the second most common cause of death.”
2) Get a PSA Test
If you are between 55 and 70 years old, get a PSA Test! says Dr. James Brooks, urologic oncologist at Stanford Hospital & Clinics and an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine. “If a man has an elevated PSA, he has somewhere around a 20 to 40 percent chance of having prostate cancer.”
“The latest data shows that the death rates from prostate cancer are down 53 percent compared to their peak. The thing that changed the most in that timeframe, screening for prostate cancer using PSA blood testing,” says Dr. Brooks.
3) Cut down on simple sugars
Cut out “the cookies, the cakes, the candies” says Dr. Steve Freedland, urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
4) Eat naturally fed meats that aren’t overcooked
“If you eat steak, make sure you are eating animals that are eating their natural diet — grass fed steaks, free range chicken, wild-caught fish,” says Dr. Freedland, “The way we process meat, and cook it, and create those charred lines, that can actually cause cancer as well. So you wanna get back to the whole foods concept.”
5) Use sunscreen to reduce your risk for melanoma by 50%
“When it comes to skin cancers such as squamous cell, basal cell, and melanoma, even some rare cancers like Merkel cell carcinoma, protecting ourselves from the sun can reduce that risk. I love telling my melanoma patients when they come in that that’s one thing they can really take control over when they come home,” says Dr. Cecilia Larocca, dermatologist in the Center of Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “There was this great study that came out of Australia that if patients used sunscreen consistently over a period of ten years, they were actually able to reduce their risk for melanoma by 50 percent.”
6) If you smoke, stop!
We know smoking causes lung cancer, and that quitting can help the success of your lung cancer surgery, but smoking can have an impact on prostate cancer as well, “something we don’t hear a lot about but it is actually correlated with dying of prostate cancer is smoking. We know it’s bad for your lung cancer and many cancers, but it actually correlates with dying of prostate cancer,” says Dr. Freedberg.
7) Lose weight! Obese men are about 35% more likely to die from prostate cancer.
“Obesity correlates with prostate cancer risk. We know this because biologically the fat that’s built up in the body, the insulin that builds up in response to all of the excess sugar intake, they’re all stimulants for prostate cancer growth and aggression,” says Dr. Edwin Posadas, Director of Translational Oncology and Medical Director of the urologic oncology program at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, “Understanding these things and helping men to know that they should avoid these types of lifestyle changes can help minimize risk.”
Prostate Cancer Prevention Pro Tips
Being obese increases your risk of getting prostate cancer and of actually dying from it.
8) Get screened for prostate cancer if you are over 70!
2/3 of men who live to the age of 70 will experience prostate cancer. As men get older, the likelihood only goes up. “In fact,” says Patrick Swift, Medical Director of the Stanford Cancer Center South Bay, “People have found that as many as 75 to 80 percent of all 80 year olds have small spots of cancer in their prostate.”
9) Drink in moderation!
“If you want to have absolutely no risk from alcohol, then don’t drink at all,” says Dr. Elizabeth Comen, medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Drinking alcohol carries with it certain risks. But probably having less than four glasses a week of alcohol is probably okay. I would feel comfortable with that. I think we’re learning every day about what the contribution of alcohol may be to cancer, and while we know that a lot isn’t good, I don’t necessarily tell patients, ‘You can’t EVER drink,’ but I do have some patients who say, ‘I am so terrified that every time I take a drink of alcohol, that I’m going to get breast cancer,’ well don’t drink alcohol.”
10) Seek out second opinions!
Getting second opinions can seem like a hassle or can feel like they just create confusion, but with as many available treatments as there are for prostate cancer, it’s important to get a second opinion. “I tell men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer that it would be far easier for them and far easier for me if there was only a single treatment option for prostate cancer. However, that’s just not the case,” says Dr. Jeffrey Sonn, Assistant Professor of Urology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “Because prostate cancer, even the more aggressive types, don’t grow rapidly, there is time to safely seek out additional opinions to come to a decision that a man is comfortable with, that he feels like he understands, why am I having this particular treatment? What are the pros, what are the cons? What appeals to me, what did my physicians recommend to me?”