Help the men in your life celebrate more birthdays by encouraging them to stay well and follow the American Cancer Society screening guidelines. Thanks to advancements in screening tests, we are able to find many cancers earlier, when they are preventable or easier to treat.
Share these important guidelines with dad and all of the men in your life:
Many colorectal (colon) cancers begin as growths called polyps, and if these polyps are found through regular testing and removed before they turn into cancer, the disease can be stopped before it starts. Start testing at age 50, or younger if people in your family have had colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.
The Society does not recommend routine lung cancer screening for people who are at average risk of the disease. However, we do have guidelines for people who are at high risk due to a history of smoking. If you answer “yes” to all of the following questions, you may be a candidate for screening. Talk to your doctor about the benefits, limitations, and potential harms of lung cancer screening to decide if it’s right for you.
Are you between the age of 55 and 74 years old?
- Are you in fairly good health*?
- Do you smoke at least 30 packs of cigarettes a year?
- Are you still smoking, or have you quit smoking in the last 15 years?
If you and your doctor decide that you should be screened, you should get a low dose CT scan every year until you reach the age of 74, as long as you remain in good health. Screening should only be done at facilities that have the right type of CT scan and that have a great deal of experience in CT scans for lung cancer screening.
Screening tests are meant to find cancer in patients who do not show symptoms. To achieve the best potential benefit from screening, patients should be in good health. For example, they need to be able to have surgery and other treatments to try to cure lung cancer if it is found.
The American Cancer Society does not recommend for or against routine prostate cancer testing for men. Instead, we recommend that, starting at age 50, men take the opportunity to make an informed decision with their health care provider about screening for prostate cancer after receiving information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits associated with testing. Testing should not occur in the absence of this informed decision-making. Men at high risk, including African American men and those with a family history of the disease, should have this talk earlier, at age 40 or 45.
During your regular checkups, have your doctor check your skin for signs of skin cancer. If you notice any changes to existing moles, tell your doctor right away.
About half of all men in the US will develop cancer in their lifetime. Leading a healthy lifestyle combined with following the recommended screening guidelines can reduce your risk for developing cancer, or find it early when treatment is more likely to be successful. Remind dad about the importance of regular exercise, refraining from tobacco use, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet, and staying safe in the sun.
Find more ways to help men stay well and get well by visiting cancer.org/menshealth or by calling your American Cancer Society anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345.
Summer Sunscreen Tips
July is prime vacation time, which means trips to the beach for many families. Yet no matter where you’re spending the summer, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s intense rays – and to be on the lookout for early signs of skin cancer year-round. Every year in the United States, 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in more than 2.2 million people, with most caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Use sunscreen to protect yourself and your family. When purchasing and applying sunscreen remember these tips:
“Broad spectrum”- Only products that protect against both UVB and UVA rays can use the term broad spectrum. All sunscreen products protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. But UVA rays also contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.
SPF 30 is recommended – Higher SPFs only protect a small percentage more than 30, but lower put you at risk for burning, premature aging and other sun-related skin conditions. When applying an SPF 30 sunscreen correctly, you get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes you spend in the sun. So, 1 hour in the sun wearing SPF 30 sunscreen is the same as spending 2 minutes totally unprotected.
“Water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweatproof” and manufacturers are no longer allowed to claim that they are. If a product’s front label makes claims of being water resistant, it must now specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.
Aim for an ounce – One ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass or palmful) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck, and face of the average adult.
Every two hours – Sunscreens need to be reapplied at least every 2 hours to maintain protection. Sunscreens can wash off when you sweat or swim and then wipe off with a towel, so they might need to be reapplied more often – be sure to read the label.
By taking steps to prevent skin cancer or detect it early, you can help finish the fight against cancer. For more sun safety tips, contact your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.