Cancer Facts for Men: Prostate and Colorectal Cancer

Published by Health Professional

on Monday, February 27th 2023

CancerMen's Health

Men face unique health challenges, including a higher risk for certain cancers. The most common cancers affecting men are prostate, colorectal, lung, and skin. Early detection and prevention are key to reducing cancer risk and improving outcomes. 

This article will explore two of the most common cancers in men: prostate and colorectal cancer.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, excluding skin cancers. The likelihood of developing prostate cancer increases as men age, with most cases found in men over 65. 

African American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry are more likely to develop prostate cancer than other races. Having one or more close relatives with prostate cancer also increases a man’s risk.

What You Can Do

The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss with their healthcare provider whether they should be screened for prostate cancer, considering the potential benefits and risks of screening. The discussion should take place at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans, Caribbean men of African ancestry, and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

Men who decide to be screened should be tested with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam may also be done as a part of screening. 

How often to be tested will depend on your PSA level, general health, preferences, and values.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. Some factors that increase colorectal cancer risk include being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, a diet high in red and processed meats, smoking, heavy alcohol use, being older, and a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

What You Can Do

Regular screening is one of the most effective ways to prevent colorectal cancer. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, which is a small growth on the lining of the colon or rectum. Screening can help to find colorectal cancer early when it’s easier to treat. 

Some screening tests can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancerous.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women begin regular screening for colorectal cancer at age 45 if they are at average risk. 

For individuals in good health with a life expectancy of more than 10 years, regular screening should continue until the age of 75. For people ages 76 through 85, the decision to be screened should be based on a person’s preferences, life expectancy, overall health, and prior screening history. People over 85 should no longer receive colorectal cancer screening.