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Cancer screenings look for signs of cancer in men and women before symptoms develop. They aim to find cancer early, when it is more easily treatable. For men, there are four main types of cancer screenings.
Dignity Health North State provides our doctors and cancer care experts with the latest advances and technology in cancer screenings for men in Northern California. Find a Doctor who performs cancer screenings for men.
Skin cancer screening should be a part of every man’s regular physical exam regardless of age. If you are at increased risk for skin cancer, you may need to see a dermatologist for more frequent screenings.
During the screening, your doctor examines the entire surface of your skin. This includes your groin, buttocks, scalp, behind your ears, and between your toes.
Men should begin prostate cancer screening at age 50. Those with an increased risk for prostate cancer should begin screening at age 40. The screening includes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, a digital rectal exam (DRE), or both.
The prostate specific antigen test is a blood test. A high result may indicate prostate cancer, but can be due to other causes. Your doctor will likely repeat the test or order other tests to determine why your prostate specific antigen level is high.
During a digital rectal exam, your doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum and feels your prostate gland. The exam can be uncomfortable, but it’s brief. Digital rectal exams can’t identify all prostate cancer tumors, so they are considered less effective than prostate specific antigen tests.
Men who have a long history of smoking or were heavy smokers should have an annual low-dose CT scan of their lungs starting at age 50. Testing should continue through age 74.
Low-dose CT scans use ionizing radiation (X-rays) to make highly detailed images your doctor can use to find small tumors. Additional tests may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Men should have a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 and continuing through age 75. If you are at increased risk for colon cancer, you should begin screening earlier.
During a colonoscopy, your doctor inserts a flexible, lighted tube through the rectum into the large intestine (colon). You will need to clean out your colon before the procedure. You will receive sedation to keep you comfortable. In addition to examining your colon, your doctor can remove any suspicious areas during the exam.
For some men, the risks of certain cancer screenings can outweigh the benefits. Talk to your doctor about the best way to prevent cancer and stay healthy.