Preventive Male Screenings

Colorectal cancer screening

Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.

Colon Colorectal cancer usually develops from polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests include fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) (stool test), sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. These tests can find polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Testing for colorectal cancer should begin soon after you turn 50. After that, continue getting screened as your doctor advises. If you have a history of colorectal cancer in your family, you may need to be tested earlier than 50 or more often than other people. Reasons for earlier or more frequent testing include:

  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease.
  • You have inherited other colorectal diseases from your family.

Talk to your doctor about your own health and what is recommended for you.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

If you are a man age 65 to 75 and have ever smoked, talk with your doctor about aortic aneurysm (AA).

An AA is the bulging or narrowing of the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and abdomen. In the chest, it is called a thoracic AA. In the abdomen it is called an abdominal AA. An AA can go across both the chest and abdomen and is then called a thoracoabdominal AA.

Symptoms of a thoracic AA can include sudden pain in the chest or upper back.
Symptoms of an abdominal AA can include pain in the abdomen or lower back that spreads to the buttocks, groin or legs.

Don’t ignore these warning signs. Talk to your doctor about any pain. An AA can rupture, cause infection and death.

Your doctor may order an ultrasound test to check for an AA. An ultrasound uses sound waves to look inside the body. Most types of ultrasounds are painless.

Prevention/Treatment: The best way to treat an AA is to prevent it:

  • Stop smoking
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Control high cholesterol

If you do develop an AA, medicines may help reduce complications. Sometimes surgery is needed to repair the AA. Prostate Cancer Screening.

Prostate Cancer Screening

The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer.

Who gets prostate cancer?
A lot depends on your age, your race, and your family history. Most prostate cancers are found in men over 65. But African Americans or men with a family history of prostate cancer have a greater chance of getting the disease earlier, even in their 40s. You are twice as likely to get prostate cancer if your father, brother or son has had it.

Your risk of prostate cancer is also raised by a diet low in fiber and high in fat and red meat.

How do you know if you have prostate cancer?
You may have no symptoms. But talk to your doctor immediately if:

  • You have trouble urinating
  • You can’t empty your bladder
  • You have blood in your urine or semen
  • You have any other problems with urination or ejaculation

How can prostate cancer be found early?
Most medical experts don’t think we currently have good early screening tests for prostate cancer. Two tests have been used:

  • The PSA test - a blood test that measures the level of prostate specific antigen made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer.
  • The digital rectal exam (DRE) – a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional places a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the size, shape, and hardness of the prostate gland.

There are problems with these tests. A DRE alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer. And PSA levels can be affected by many things, such as:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Certain medical procedures
  • Certain medications
  • An enlarged prostate
  • A prostate infection

High PSA levels do not always mean you have prostate cancer. So the PSA test is no longer recommended as a routine screening for all men of a certain age or race.

So what should you do?
Experts advise men to talk to their doctors about the need for screenings for prostate cancer. Your doctor will consider your age, your race, and your medical and family history. Your doctor will consider your age, your race, and your medical and family history. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide if the screenings will benefit you.

Men’s Health Network

US Preventive Task Force