June is Men’s Health Month
June is Men’s Health Month, a time when we focus on increasing awareness of preventable health problems to encourage men to take more active roles in preventing disease and detecting and treating problems early. Cancer is one of the top health concerns for American men and their five most common cancers include prostate, lung, colorectal, bladder and melanoma.
The chance of getting prostate cancer – the top cancer risk for men – increases with age. Most prostate cancers are detected in men 65 years and older and African American men are more likely than white men to develop prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends men talk to their doctor about screening by age 50, or sooner if there is family history or you are African-American. To promote early detection, Roswell Park is hosting its 7th annual Cruisin' for a Cure, Saturday, September 23, 2017. During this popular one-day charity car show, men can schedule a free screening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Smoking is the leading cause of all lung cancer. Prevention, simply not smoking, and avoiding second-hand smoke, is the best way to reduce risk. Roswell Park offers a free smoking cessation program, Just Breathe, to help patients and their families by providing individualized quit plans, behavioral counseling, cessation support, and access to pharmacotherapy. For more information, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355).
The fourth most common cancer in men, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) strikes about 53 of every 100,000 men. Early colorectal cancer symptoms may include a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, belly pain, weakness and weight loss. Roswell Park recommends all adults be screened for early detection of colorectal cancer by scheduling regular colonoscopies, beginning at age 50 and repeating every 5-10 years.
A new study, led by researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, recently established a connection between a sedentary lifestyle and the risk of developing bladder cancer. The research made a strong case for increasing physical activity as an effective lifestyle change that can reduce the risk for some cancers including bladder cancer. “You don’t have to run marathons to reduce your cancer risk, but you have to do something — even small adjustments like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking around the block a couple of times on your lunch hour or parking the car far away from the store when you go to the supermarket,” says Kirsten Moysich, PhD, MS, one of the team leaders on the research project.
Melanoma, a type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that make melanin, the pigment that adds color to skin, is diagnosed in about 27 of every 100,000 men each year. It’s important to let your doctor know if you notice any changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole or freckle, if you have any sores on your skin that don't heal or if you develop a new mole or lump under your skin. Screening can start with complete skin self-exam every month, an especially important habit to maintain if you have a family history of melanoma.
To reduce your risk, practice sun safety by avoiding the midday sun, between 1 and 3 p.m. When in the sun, wear hats with wide brims, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
The month of June is a good time to remind yourself and other men in your life that cancer risks can be decreased with health practices. If you have a family history or feel you are experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor about what additional steps you could take and when you should schedule screenings. Healthy lifestyle habits such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, incorporating exercise and daily activity and protecting your skin from the sun can truly reduce your risks.