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Most common cancers in men: 8 lifestyle and fitness tips to reduce risk

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 09, 2024 04:56 PM IST

Here's all you need to know about 6 of the most common cancers in men and expert lifestyle and fitness tips to reduce their risk

The incidence of cancer is on the rise, affecting both men and women but despite this, the etiology of most cases remains unknown where health experts often encounter patients with oral cancer who have no history of tobacco intake or individuals with lung cancer who have never smoked a single cigarette in their life. Additionally, cases of intestinal cancers occur even in the fittest and youngest individuals hence, surprisingly, adult cancers are increasingly being diagnosed in individuals in the second and third decades, especially colon and rectum cancers.

Most common cancers in men: 8 lifestyle and fitness tips to reduce risk (Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)
Most common cancers in men: 8 lifestyle and fitness tips to reduce risk (Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Aman Rastogi, MCh Surgical Oncologist at Valentis Cancer Hospital in Meerut, shared, “I know many of you have questions and doubts regarding these facts. Why is this happening? What are the reasons behind it? How can we prevent it? According to recent Globocan data, out of 730,746,615 males in our country, 691,178 had new incidences of Cancer past year. Oral cavity cancers(15.6%) topped the list, followed by lung (8.5%), esophagus (6.6%), colorectal (6.3%), stomach (6.2%) and others. The most concerning issue for many of us is how to prevent ourselves and our families from cancers. Our ever changing environment plays a significant role- the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, career stresses and the adoption of a western lifestyle. Many may believe that prevention is inevitable and impractical. However, it is essential to understand the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors so that we can prevent what is preventable.”

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He suggested, “Quitting all forms of tobacco, getting HPV vaccines to decrease the incidence of HPV associated oral cancers, abstaining from alcohol, avoiding sharp tooth injuries leading to tongue injuries and ensuring proper denture fit are crucial steps. Most importantly, if you notice anything unusual in your mouth, such as white or red patches or non-healing ulcers over weeks and months, it's imperative to visit an oncology specialist promptly. Chemoprevention with antioxidants, multivitamins, anti-inflammatory drugs, probiotics have come up in a big way to prevent intestinal cancers, daily physical activity, a high fibre diet, and limiting unhealthy foods are also recommended strategies. Screening and early detection of these cancers remain Paramount and need to be emphasized for a better future for our country.”

Cancer is a serious health concern affecting millions of people worldwide, including men and according to a report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization, approximately one in five individuals will experience cancer during their lifetime, with around 1 in 9 men and 1 in 12 women succumbing to the disease. Understanding the most prevalent types of cancer in men and learning how to reduce the risk can significantly improve overall health and well-being.

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Ashish Gupta, American board-certified Medical Oncologist and Chief of Medical Oncology at Unique Hospital Cancer Centre in Dwarka, India, emphasised the importance of awareness and prevention strategies to combat these diseases effectively -

  1. Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men. It begins in the prostate gland, which is part of the male reproductive system. Age, family history, and ethnicity are all considered risk factors. The likelihood increases significantly after reaching 50 years of age, with the majority of cases being found in men aged over 65. Dr. Ashish Gupta suggests undergoing a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test every 2 to 4 years after age of 45 and onwards.
  2. Lung Cancer: Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in men. Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke and harmful chemicals can significantly lower the risk of developing lung cancer. Additionally, maintaining good lung health through regular exercise and avoiding environmental pollutants is crucial. In smokers or prior smokers getting a low-dose CT scan once every year after the age of 50 is important.
  3. Colorectal Cancer: Colorectal cancer affects the colon or rectum and usually develops from precancerous polyps. Age, family history, diet high in red meat and processed foods, obesity, and lack of physical activity are risk factors. Dr. Ashish Gupta says routine screening with colonoscopy plays a crucial role in detecting potential health issues early, particularly for individuals aged 45 and above once every 10 years, or even earlier if there's a family history, leading to early detection and more successful treatment outcomes.
  4. Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer typically affects younger men and is one of the most treatable cancers if detected early. Risk factors include undescended testicles, family history, and certain medical conditions. It is advised to regularly self-examine your testicles and seek medical assistance if you observe any changes in their size or texture.
  5. Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer is more common in older men and those with a history of smoking or exposure to certain chemicals. Symptoms include blood in urine, frequent urination, and pain during urination. To reduce your risk, quit smoking, stay hydrated, and avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.
  6. Skin Cancer: Skin cancer, though found less in India, including melanoma, is highly preventable by following sun safety precautions. This includes using sunscreen with a high SPF, seeking shade during peak sun hours, and wearing protective clothing like hats and sunglasses. Regular skin checks for unusual moles or changes in existing moles are also advised.

Tips to Reduce Cancer Risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing can help you avoid harmful UV rays.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Schedule regular screenings and check-ups as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Be aware of your family history and share any concerns with your doctor.
  • Stay active and engage in regular physical activity to keep your overall health.

Being aware of the most common cancers in men and taking proactive steps to reduce the risk is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. Dr Ashish Gupta underscored the significance of regular screenings, healthy lifestyle choices, and early detection in combating cancer. By adopting these preventive measures and staying informed, men can empower themselves to lead healthier lives and reduce their risk of cancer.

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