Cancer screening for men
Cancer screening tests are very important in order to detect cancer cells or pre-cancerous cells that develop within our body. It is beneficial to undergo cancer screening tests before any development of cancer symptoms arises. This is because early detection of cancer cells means early treatment can be given. Hence, this will increase the survival rate. Because of this, all men are advised to undergo these tests, even those with good health conditions. There are several cancer screening tests that are recommended for men.
Prostate cancer is one of the commonest cancers that can affect men. It is a slow growing type of cancer. If it is detected early, then the chance for successful treatment will increase. All men should undergo prostate cancer screening at the age of 50. If you have risk factors for prostate cancer, then it is recommended to start getting a screening test at 45 years old. Men with a first-degree relative who have prostate or breast cancer should do it earlier, which is at the age of 40.
If you undergo a screening test, a doctor will usually take your blood to detect the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level in your body. A high PSA level indicates prostate cancer. You might also need to undergo a physical examination called DRE (digital rectal examination). For this examination, doctors will insert a lubricated finger inside your rectum to feel for any prostate enlargement. For a more accurate diagnosis, some people might need to take a prostate MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). MRI is 95% accurate in detecting cancer or pre-cancerous cells that may require treatment.
Testicular cancer is a cancer that can grow inside a testis. It is a rare cancer when compared to other cancers. Besides, this cancer is highly treatable, even if it has spread beyond the testicles. Usually, this cancer occurs between the ages of 15 until 45 years old. It is advised for a man to undergo an annual screening test during these ages.
For testicular cancer, there is no official test that can be done to detect it. Your doctor will normally do a physical examination that involves checking your testicles for any lump or enlargement. Doctors also will do a blood test to look for any increase in cancer marker level. Besides, an ultrasound scan might also be used to look for a more detailed diagnosis.
Colorectal cancer refers to any cancer in the colon or rectum. It may start with clumped non-cancerous cells called polyps. These polyps will then turn into a cancer if left untreated. As it usually affects older adults, men need to undergo this screening test at the age of 50 until 75 years old. If the result is normal, it is highly recommended to repeat the test after a ten-year gap.
There are a lot of tests that can be done to detect colorectal cancer. Two of the most popular are fecal blood tests and colonoscopy. A fecal blood test is a test to look for blood in your faeces. Your doctor may order a colonoscopy if the result is positive. This is a painless procedure where your doctor will insert a flexible camera tube into your rectum to look for any abnormalities.
Although men only need to undergo regular screenings for a prostate, testicular and colorectal cancer, it is advisable to screen for other cancers as well. These include a lung, skin, and also pancreatic cancer. You can make a regular visit to your doctor’s office to learn more about your risk of getting a specific cancer. After all, prevention is better than cure.