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Men are affected by a wide range of cancers, from lung and colon cancer to melanoma and, most commonly, cancer of the prostate. However, some of the best preventative measures begin with early screenings that can help to catch signs of the disease before symptoms appear.
Colon cancer, for example, is 50 percent more treatable when caught early. Similarly, lung cancer, the second-leading type of cancer in men, can be detected more quickly with a low-dose CT scan when it’s easier to treat.
“The purpose of screening is to catch cancer before it becomes symptomatic,” explained Zion Oshikanlu, MD, a medical oncologist at Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek. “For example, with prostate cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in men, the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a blood screening that can help predict the likelihood of cancer.”
Somewhere around 233,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Caught early, it’s one of the most treatable and survivable forms of cancer. And while a PSA screening is not conclusive, it’s a start.
There are varying reasons the number would be outside the normal range of 0-2.5 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter of blood). Chronic inflammation or infections of the prostate can result in a higher PSA result without the presence of a cancerous tumor. But the PSA, along with diagnostic imaging tests such as an MRI, provides one method of early detection that helps reduce the need for invasive biopsies.
Cancer in general carries similar risk factors for men and women, age, family history, lifestyle, and ethnic background. However, the greatest risk is among smokers. According to reports from the American Cancer Society, nearly half (48.5%) of cancer deaths from 12 different types of cancer are attributable to smoking. Dr. Oshikanlu said prostate and, as you might expect, lung cancers should be included in that list, as well.
Dr. Oshikanlu also pointed out that certain cancers in men have now been linked to the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Most commonly associated with cervical cancer in women, HPV has become more common as a cause of male-specific cancers as well.
“Prostate, testicular, penile and anal cancers are the most common cancers men should be concerned about,” Dr. Oshikanlu noted. “We’re starting to understand how HPV is increasing the risks for these types of cancers, particularly anal and penile cancer.”
Cancer prevention for men
Although there is no specific preventive measure that can help protect you from prostate cancer, there are things you can do to improve your overall health and reduce the risk. Keeping a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and exercise, can decrease your risk for many different types of cancer. Focusing on a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is recommended.
Regular exams and screening for common cancers affecting specific age groups can help to reduce risk and improve treatment and survival rates.
Treatment and care
Kettering Health Network has been expanding oncology services at Soin Medical Center, most recently with an enhanced radiation center. With additional resources, physicians and treatment options, men in Greene County and beyond can rest assured that they have full access to a wide range of world-class cancer care close to home.
If you have concerns, click here now to request an appointment with Kettering Cancer Care.