3 Cancer Screenings All Men Should Be Aware Of

As a man, you want to do everything that you can to maintain your health. Getting health screenings is part of staying healthy. Screenings help to detect diseases early so that they can be treated before they become too aggressive and complications arise. Here are three cancer screenings that all men need to have.

Prostate Cancer

As one of the leading types of cancer in men, prostate cancer is usually a non-aggressive, slow-growing cancer. However, there are more aggressive forms of this cancer. Luckily, there are screenings that can detect the disease early – often before you even notice symptoms. The earlier that the disease can be caught, the more effective the treatment can be.

The American Cancer Society recommends that screenings begin between 40 and 50 years of age, depending on how at risk you are to develop the disease. A doctor will look at your medical and family history when determining your level of risk. If you decide to move forward with the screening, it will typically consist of a digital rectal exam (DRE). In some cases, you may undergo a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Before agreeing to the prostate screening, discuss the benefits and risks of all screenings with your doctor.

Colon Cancer

The third most commonly diagnosed cancer for both men and women, colon cancer can often develop at a slow pace, and from the colon polyps, which are growths on the inside of the colon. Once this particular form of cancer develops, it can spread to other areas of the body. The most effective way to prevent color cancer is to detect and remove the polyps before they have time to become cancerous.

Generally, you don't need to get a colon cancer screening (a visual rectum test or a stool-based test) until you are 45. However, if you are considered high-risk, you may need a screening earlier, more frequently, or receive more specific testing. Other than that, there are no specific guidelines set forth for high-risk individuals.

Testicular Cancer

A rare form of cancer, testicular cancer only accounts for roughly one percent of all male-related cancers. According to the Testicular Cancer Society, more than 9,000 men receive a testicular cancer diagnosis in the United States, and approximately 400 fatally succumb to the disease each year.

When you go in for your annual physical, it is recommended that you have a testicular exam. Additional screenings are a good idea for men that are considered high-risk, such as individuals with an undescended testicle or a family history. Self-exams are also helpful, feeling for smooth bumps, hard lumps, etc. If you are unsure how to go about this, talk to your healthcare doctor and he or she can show you and explain it detail what you should look for.