Cancer Screenings for Men

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Prostate cancer is the top cancer risk for men. Most prostate cancers are detected in men 65 years and older. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, a baseline-screening exam is recommended at age 45. For African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer, annual screening should begin at age 40. 


Smoking is the leading cause of all lung cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan for people aged 55 to 74 who are current smoker or have quit smoking in last 15 years and have more than 30 pack/years of smoking history.


Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. For people at average risk for colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends starting regular screening at age 45 until age 75. For people ages 76 to 84, continuing screening depends on overall health and past screening history.  Options for colon cancer screening can be divided into those that screen for both cancer and polyps, and those that just screen for cancer. Tests that screen for cancer and polyps include flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, or CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). Tests that screen mainly for cancer include stool testing for blood, or stool DNA testing. 

Smoking cessation, limiting consumption of red meat and alcohol, regular exercise and weight control reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. 


Bladder cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the seventh leading cause of solid cancer–related deaths in the US. Men are four times more likely than women to be diagnosed with bladder cancer. Smoking is an important risk factor for bladder cancer. There is no routine screening test for bladder cancer. Urine test for hematuria (blood in urine), cystoscopy and urine cytology may be used to screen for bladder cancer in patients who have had bladder cancer in the past.


Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, either by natural sunlight or tanning beds, can lead to skin cancer. Routine self-exam to monitor moles for any change in size, shape, or color, for any development of scaliness, bleeding, oozing, itchiness or pain is the current recommendation for skin cancer screening by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Melanoma is a serious skin cancer type originated from melanin-making cells of the skin. By age 65, men are twice as likely to get melanoma than women. Screening for melanoma includes a complete skin self-exam every month, especially with people with a family history of melanoma. When melanoma is found and treated early, the cure rate is almost 100%.

It’s important to report any changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole.


The majority of testicular cancers occur between the ages of 15 and 45. All men should examine their testicles regularly, be familiar with their normal look and feel, and report any changes to their healthcare provider for further testing. Most often, the first symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on the testicle, or the testicle becomes swollen or larger. Some testicular tumors might cause pain and heaviness in the lower belly or scrotum.


Breast cancer in men is rare, less than one percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S. Therefore, routine breast cancer screening is not recommended for most men but only for some men at increased risk of breast cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends men who have a BRCA2 or BRCA1 inherited gene mutation to start breast cancer screening at age 35. The most common finding of breast cancer in men during a breast exam is a painless lump. However, any change in the breast, chest area or nipple can be a warning sign, including a lump or thickening in the breast, chest or underarm area, change in the size or shape of the breast, dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin of the breast, itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple, nipple discharge, pulling in of the nipple (inverted nipple).

Men with a BRCA2 or BRCA1 mutation with gynecomastia (enlarged breast), should be screened with a mammogram every year, starting at age 50. Men with such gene mutations should also be screened for prostate and pancreatic cancer, and melanoma.

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