We kick started this series by talking about the heart diseases being one of the top threats men are likely to face as they grow in life; we’ll be moving unto the second one:
Cancer is one of the world’s leading cause of death, it is a dangerous, abnormal, malignant cell which is characterized with uncontrolled growth that has the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue forming a large mass of tissue which is called a tumour. Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism and orderly process breaks down, meaning, when cancer develops, instead of old cells dying, they survive and they begin to grow and grow out of control causing new cells likewise to form when they are not needed leading to damage.
Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body and has the ability to spread throughout the body as the human body is made up of trillions of cells. Cancer forms malignant tumours which unlike benign tumours can grow back after even being removed.
There are numerous causes of cancer, however, streamlined, we have three major risk factors, as best classified, and we have; inherited genetics, environmental/ toxic exposure and random chance based on lifestyle. Other factors include: Age, skin type, gender, medications etc. with the five most common cancers among men generally are Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, Bladder, and Melanoma.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Lung Cancer is the number one killer among cancers with symptoms such as shortness of breath, noisy breathing, persistent coughing, wheezing, coughing up blood, chest pain, fever, and weight loss. Lung cancer is also considered the most preventable as smoking causes 90% of all lung cancers.
Prostate cancer is the No. 1 cancer risk for men as it is the most common cancer among men because it occurs with aging. It is the second cancer killer (behind lung cancer) as it affects the prostate gland however, it is rarely seen in men younger than 50 years of age. Prostate cancer often occurs without any symptoms, but symptoms are more likely if the disease is advanced, they include straining to pass urine, leaking urine, bloody urine, and bone pain. It is diagnosed with routine screening tests including a rectal examination to feel the prostate and a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test.
Colorectal basically known as colon and rectal is the third most common cancer in men. There are no symptoms in the early stages of colon and rectal cancers, thus the diagnosis is often made by routinely colonoscopy (screening of the stool) for what exactly? It’s to screen for blood that is not visible to the naked eye but can be found by testing the stool sample. Few symptoms which are a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, belly pain, weakness, and weight loss are observed as cancer progresses. Undergoing a routine screening can ultimately make Colon cancer nearly completely preventable with timely responses in the case of possible/early detection.
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine. Blood may change the color of your urine or show up as blood clots. Needing to urinate frequently and burning pain are other symptoms. However, there are no screening recommendations and surgery is the most common treatment. Additional treatments if warranted may include administering drugs directly into the bladder, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Melanoma Skin Cancer also called Melanoma of the Skin is diagnosed in about 27 of every 100,000 men each year, the first symptom of melanoma might be a change in the size, shape, or colour of a mole or freckle. It’s found to occur in persons with a light complexion and lots of freckles and the best way to screen is by doing a complete skin self-exam every month. You should also let your doctor know about any sores on your skin that don’t heal and any new mole or lump and avoid long exposure to the sun or make use of sunscreens if it’s unavoidable.
Treatment depends on your age and how aggressive the cancer is, as major options include watching and waiting (which mean monitoring cancer but not starting treatment unless it progresses), radiation therapy (use of x-rays to kill cancer), chemotherapy (use of chemicals) and/or surgery (directly removing the tumour). Other treatment plan includes immunotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy.
However, according to new findings, researchers discovered sub-types, that is, the same cancer type in one individual is very different from that cancer in another individual meaning that each requires a different treatment approach and a single generic method cannot be adopted to treat every individual irrespective they have the same type of cancer; that’s why it is highly recommended to always see your doctor when discussing treatment options.
REDUCING YOUR RISK
In as much factors such as age, race, family history, skin type, mutation at birth can’t be controlled, kindly note the most controllable and imminent factor in controlling cancer is one’s lifestyle. When properly managed it can give a great head start in the prevention and management of cancer. Develop a healthy lifestyle, make sure to get cancer screenings, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, and avoid being a second smoker, protecting your skin from the sun and don’t have more than two alcoholic drinks a day. These will go a long way in reducing your risk for these common cancers.
Talk to us today about what additional prevention steps you could and should take and when you should schedule screenings. Our Team comprises of expert doctors and specialists available 24/7 to attend to your needs. Book an appointment here.
Best wishes from the Men’s Wellness Circle.