Cancer and Men

Your Wake-Up Call

“Hopefully, my heartbreak is your wake-up call,” says Terrence Howard in this video about losing his mother to colon cancer.

“Both my father and grandfather died of colon cancer—that’s what motivates me to get screened,” says David.

“My father did not get screened. It actually wasn’t until he had some symptoms that he went to the doctor and they found the cancer. Unfortunately, at that point it had already spread.

“I started getting screened right around when I turned 50, and I’ve had them regularly ever since,” he says. “The preparation is unpleasant, but the procedure itself is nothing.

“If they can catch [cancer] early, before it becomes a problem, why not get screened?”

Tips for Lowering Your Chance of Getting Cancer

You can do several things to lower the chances that you’ll get cancer. Some of the most important are—

Fast Facts About Cancer and Men

  • The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.
  • Most prostate cancers grow slowly, and don’t cause any health problems in men who have them. Treatment can cause serious side effects. Talk to your doctor before you decide to get tested or treated for prostate cancer.
  • Some cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cancers of the penis, anus, and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).

    HPV vaccination is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given starting at age 9. HPV vaccine also is recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already.

    HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. However, some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination. HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, as more people have already been exposed to HPV.

    HPV vaccination prevents new HPV infections, but does not treat existing infections or diseases. This is why the HPV vaccine works best when given before any exposure to HPV.

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