Annual check-ups and screenings are extremely important because they can help detect diseases like cancer early - and the earlier that cancer is caught, the higher the chance of it being treated.
But research shows that men often neglect their health screenings. According to Everyday Health, men are less likely to be screened for cancer than women, even though they have a higher mortality rate for cancer.
The top three types of cancer that most commonly affect men are prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and colorectal cancer. During your annual wellness appointment, your doctor will tell you when it's timed to get screened and will check for signs of any of these cancers. We break down each screening for you.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men, and sits as the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that one in nine men will get prostate cancer during his lifetime.
While over 161,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, tests like PSA screenings and digital rectal exams can increase your chance of survival. The prostate gland produces a protein known as prostate-stimulating antigen, or PSA.
As these levels are known to rise before other symptoms of prostate cancer appear, it is important to seek out a regular exam starting in the mid-twenties.
Screening and Self-Exams for Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is most common in men between 20 and 34 years of age. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age at the time of diagnosis is about 33. About six percent of all cases occur in children and teens and eight percent in men over the age of 55. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2018 9,310 men will be diagnosed, with only about 400 men dying as a result.
Fortunately, testicular cancer is one of the most curable cancers. Men diagnosed and treated when the disease is in an early stage have a 97 to 100 percent chance of being cured. Therefore, early detection is critical - and relatively easy to do frequently, and at home.
The most common way to check is to perform a monthly testicular self-exam. Unfortunately, after noticing a change in a testicle, many men wait several months before seeking a medical evaluation. The disease is then more advanced upon diagnosis, possibly requiring more intensive treatment and potentially decreasing the chance of a cure.
Screening for Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type found in both men and women (outside of skin cancers) in the United States, but thanks to awareness around colonoscopy screenings, the death rate from this cancer has dropped in recent years. Typically it affects people over 50 years old, as well as those those with a hereditary history of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is often beatable when detected and treated in its early stages and can even be prevented altogether when polyps are removed before they develop into cancer. It’s important to know that symptoms of colorectal cancer can look like symptoms of other conditions.
Roughly 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases can be prevented with adequate colonoscopy screening - often saving lives. We encourage everyone to begin a dialogue about colorectal cancer screening with their physicians. While no screening test is 100 percent perfect, colonoscopy remains the best method of screening for most individuals.