The best way to protect yourself from cancer is to get screened regularly; early detection is key. In some cases, screening can even prevent development before it begins. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men get regularly screened for four key cancers in particular: prostate, skin, lung, and colorectal.
The ACS suggests that men of average risk discuss the possibility of prostate cancer screening with their doctor by the age of 50. There are a number of risk factors that can determine how high one’s chances of developing the disease are. The ACS says that high risk men should have this discussion with a healthcare provider between 40 and 45, depending on risk level. With Ezra, you can get screened for prostate cancer in a non-invasive way: we use the latest MRI technology to look for lesions before one would even have to undergo a risky, invasive biopsy. The Ezra MRI scan can detect over 90% of prostate cancers as opposed to the industry-standard PSA blood test, which is only 21% accurate.
In terms of skin cancer, people of all ages should be vigilant. People should keep track of moles and spots on their skin, and report any “irregular” birthmarks to their physicians. The Skin Cancer Foundation talks about a set of skin cancer warning signs known as “The ABCDEs of Melanoma”:
A stands for asymmetry: malignant moles are generally asymmetrical.
B stands for borders: early melanomas generally have uneven, scalloped edges.
C is for color: benign moles are generally uniform in color, while malignant ones are usually a variety of colors; they can be different shades of brown, tan, black, or even red, white, or blue.
D represents diameter: benign moles are generally smaller in diameter than malignant ones, which are usually larger than the eraser on a pencil tip–or about ¼ of an inch. They can be smaller when first detected, however.
E stands for evolving: only malignant moles change over time, in terms of shape, color, size, elevation, or other qualities.
Other novel symptoms such as crusting, itching, or bleeding can be indicative of malignancy as well.
Lung cancer poses a higher risk for anyone between 55 and 74 years old who is a smoker or who has quit smoking within the last 15 years–even if they’re currently in good health. It’s generally recommended that those individuals get screened for lung cancer annually via a low-dose CT scan. However, these CT scans do expose individuals to trace amounts of radiation, so it’s important to discuss the pros and cons with your physician prior to any scan.
It’s generally recommended that anyone 45 and above should begin to get regularly screened for colorectal cancer (colon and rectal cancer); if you have a family history of the disease or any other colon issues that could put you at risk, it may be wise to begin this practice earlier. Healthy individuals who are expected to live 10 years or more are recommended to continue screening through the age of 75. And between the ages of 75 and 86, screening practices should be determined based on one’s health, screening history, and other personal factors. While there are a variety of tests that can look for colorectal cancer, some can actually help prevent the disease by finding growths known as polyps within the colon or rectal region. Polyps can be removed before they turn into cancer, saving someone’s life.