Cancer Risks and Screen Guidelines for Those in Their Forties
For many people, the idea of cancer moves from the theoretical to the real when they enter their forties. Comprehensive Cancer Centers notes that this is the decade for men when prostate and colon cancers start to become more of a risk and when guidance suggests that at-risk men begin integrating screenings for these cancers into their regular physical examinations.
There are more than 150,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Diets that are high in fat and red meat and low in vegetable fiber are associated with increased risk, and Comprehensive urges people to eat lean protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. In addition, oncologists urge people to make their primary physicians aware of family history to start more aggressive screenings of colon cancer, as the risk of developing this malignancy increases threefold in these circumstances.
Women are at even greater risk than men in their late 30s and early 40s, as they are two times as likely to contract cancer as men. The relatively high rate of cancer among 35-44 year-old women is largely due to breast cancer, which underscores the need for women to start becoming more proactive with self-screenings and clinical screenings.
Screenings take on an added urgency with a study suggesting that more than 75 percent of women between the ages 40 to 49 diagnosed with breast cancer didn’t meet the criteria for risk-based screening including no family history of cancer. With this in mind, Comprehensive Cancer Center’s breast surgery team urges women to conduct self-breast exams, receive regular checkups, seek medical advice for suspicious lumps and communicate with their doctors about their need for screenings and mammograms, which can lead to early detection.
For men, nearly ten percent of all men develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. Prostate cancer, while treatable, is the second-leading cause of cancer mortality, behind lung cancer. Just as with women, Comprehensive Cancer Centers urges men to be proactive with the management of their health and start including in annual physicals, rectal exams and blood tests at age 45 for high-risk individuals.
Although the cause of prostate cancer is unknown, risk factors for prostate cancer include advancing age, African-American race, high-fat diet, and a family history of prostate cancer.
Early symptoms for prostate cancer can include decreased urine stream, urine retention, prostate infections, and urine frequency. A more advanced disease will present with bone pain and weight loss. Diagnosis is made through a biopsy of the prostate. In general, this is a slow-growing cancer. The treatment involves surgery or radiation of the prostate, with the more advanced disease being treated with anti-testosterone drugs and chemotherapy.
As you enter your forties, start to become more aware of these risks, increase preventative measures and be more active with self and clinical screenings. To get screened, consult your primary physician. If you have a cancer diagnosis, contact Comprehensive Cancer Centers at 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.