Healthier Together: Cancer risks for men

While there’s still some mystery surrounding the cancer diagnosis of King Charles III, it’s no secret that cancer risks are vital to keep in mind, according to Dr. Nicole Saint Clair, the Executive Medical Director of Regence BlueShield.

“(Prostate cancer) is one that we know King Charles was said not to have, but there are different recommendations for different groups about how often you should have prostate screenings,” Dr. Saint Clair said. “Prostate cancer is a very common cancer, the second-most common among men.”

The following are the most common cancers among men, according to the American Cancer Society:

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer (Colon or Rectum)
  • Lung Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer

“The (cancer) risk increases for all men with aging. So after a certain point, every man should consider himself at risk,” Dr. Saint Clair said. “While we’re young, the best thing we should be thinking about, really, is prevention. What are all of the things we could be doing in our day-to-day life just to reduce our risk overall?”

No matter what type of cancer is most concerning to you, the universal rule is to maintain a healthy lifestyle: cutting out smoking, limiting (or abandoning) drinking alcohol, exercising, and “eating the rainbow,” as Dr. Saint Clair puts it.

“Not with artificial colors!” Dr. Saint Clair said. “Having plenty of fruits and vegetables.”

Frozen vegetables can often have the same nutrition that you’d have in a fresh vegetable because those products are flash-frozen at peak freshness, according to Dr. Saint Clair.

“If you could (also) do one thing: exercise,” she said.

“Moderate exercise” is recommended, which doesn’t mean one is “completely winded.”

For example, dancing is a form of moderate exercise.

Another important way to stay aware of cancer risks is to maintain regular checkups with primary care providers.

“Men often times are a bit less connected with their primary care providers, in terms of keeping up with that annual visit. And that’s also where you can see a lapse in cancer screenings,” she said. “It’s really important to make sure that you’re checking in with your providers (so you can) know if you’re up to date with all cancer screenings. The vast majority of (cancers) are either identifiable early (and) potentially even preventable.”

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