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Cancer screenings are tests that look for signs of cancer before you have symptoms. Screenings are important because cancer is easier to treat in its earliest stages. They can even help prevent cancer by finding precancerous conditions. There are four main cancer screenings for men.
At the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health, we are dedicated to the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer. If you are a man interested in cancer screenings in Arizona, Find a Doctor near you today or call 844.214.5236 (8222).
Most men should begin annual prostate cancer screenings at age 50. However, if you have a higher risk for developing colon cancer, you may start annual screenings at age 40. Screening involves a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, or a digital rectal exam (DRE), or both.
PSA is a blood test. While a high result may indicate prostate cancer, your PSA can be high for other reasons. If your PSA level is high, your doctor may recommend repeating the test or performing other procedures.
For a DRE, your doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum to feel your prostate gland. This can be uncomfortable, but it’s a brief exam. Because the majority of biopsy-proven prostate tumors cannot be felt by DRE, it is less effective than a PSA test for prostate cancer screening.
Unless you are at an increased risk for colon cancer, men between the ages of 50 and 75 should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. Before your colonoscopy, you will be required to prepare your bowels to clean out the colon. Your doctor will guide a flexible lighted tube through the rectum into the colon to check for any suspicious areas. Some growths can be removed, if needed, during the exam. You will given sedation to keep you comfortable.
Men with a history of smoking should consider annual low-dose CT scans of the lungs starting at age 50. These scans use X-rays to make detailed images, allowing your doctor to find small tumors by looking at cross-sections or layers of the lungs. Follow-up tests and procedures may be necessary.
Regardless of your age, your doctor should perform a skin exam as a part of your annual physical exam. A skin exam is a visual exam of the skin surface, including your scalp, buttocks, groin, behind your ears, and between your toes. If you are at an increased risk for developing skin cancer, you may choose to see a dermatologist.
You may need to have follow-up procedures or tests if you doctor finds anything concerning during your screening. In some cases, the risks of cancer screening and treatments may be too high to continue after the age of 75. Talk with your doctor about the risks of screening exams.
Dignity Health is dedicated to preventing, diagnosing, and treating all forms of cancer by providing cancer screenings for men in Arizona.