How to Prevent the Top Cancers Affecting Black Men, According to a Survey

How to Prevent the Top Cancers Affecting Black Men, According to a Survey

(HealthDay News) — American men are blowing their best chance to head off cancer or spot it early, when it’s easiest to treat, a new survey warns.

More than 6 in 10 (65 percent) men in the nationwide survey said they are behind on at least one routine cancer screening, while nearly 1 in 5 admitted they don’t even schedule their own health care appointments.

Those are the key findings from the annual Early Detection Survey conducted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Its CEO, Jody Hoyos, calls the implications profound.

It’s crucial, she said, to advocate for your health and talk to your health care provider about the routine screenings you need.

“By fostering a culture of self-care and encouraging men to prioritize cancer screenings, we can reduce health disparities and achieve better outcomes,” Hoyos added in a foundation news release.

Screenings are available for some of the most common cancers in men — colon, skin [melanoma], oral and prostate cancers, she noted, calling on men to talk to their health care provider about their options.

In the survey, 51 percent of guys aged 45 or older said knowing about at-home screening options for colon cancer screening makes them more likely to get that check.

And 36 percent of guys who weren’t up to date on routine cancer screenings said they’d be more likely to make them a priority if tests were faster. The foundation said that’s important for companies to consider when developing new screening tests.

The foundation shared these screening guidelines for men who are at average risk for cancer:

Colon: Men with an average risk for this cancer should begin screening at age 45. Those with an increased risk, including those with a parent, sibling or child who has had colon cancer, may need to start sooner or get tested more often. Men should ask their doctor about screening options. Data suggests the overall risk of colon cancer is similar between Black and White men, but Black men may have a slightly higher risk of dying from the disease.

Lung: Current or former smokers between the ages of 50 and 80 should be screened. Lung cancer remains a leading cause of cancer death for all men, and Black men are no exception.

Oral: Oral cancers are more common in men than in women. Visit a dentist every six months and ask for an oral cancer exam. Data on race and oral cancer is limited, but some studies suggest Black men may have a lower risk compared to White men.

Prostate: Men should talk to their health care provider by age 50 about screening. Black men or any men who have had relatives with prostate cancer should begin that conversation in their 40s. Black men have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared to other races and ethnicities.

Skin: Since men are more likely than women to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, monthly self-exams are important by age 50. Men should bring any changes in moles or suspicious skin areas to a doctor’s attention and get a yearly skin check. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is less common in Black men than in White men.

Testicular: Beginning in their 20s, men should have a testicular exam during their routine physical and learn how to do a self-exam. This will help them recognize changes that they can bring to a doctor’s attention. Rates of this cancer are highest in men between 20 and 34 years of age. Testicle checks should continue for as long as the doctor recommends. Black men have a lower risk of testicular cancer compared to White men.

More information

Johns Hopkins Medicine has a guide to men’s health screenings.

SOURCE: Prevent Cancer Foundation, news release, June 5, 2024

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