"As a young man, cancer was rarely more than a passing thought to me. Occasionally a friend, co-worker or relative would be diagnosed, but otherwise the disease seemed far away-until a routine screening changed everything. Thankfully, my doctor caught my cancer at an early stage. Together, we selected the best form of treatment, and today I'm living proof of the value of testing. When it comes to cancer, a few minutes of your time can make all the difference in the world."

Disease Prevention

Ask your doctor about the following cancer screening tests:

Women Men
Breast self exam Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy Digital rectal exam (DRE)
Mammogram Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test
Pap test Testicular self exam
Pelvic exam

In the absence of genetic traits, the following actions could reduce a person's risk of getting cancer:

  • Practice self examination (breast and testicular)
  • Get regular exercise or physical activity (30 minutes a day, 3 days a week minimum)
  • Eat healthy foods that are low in saturated fats, and consume more vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and fiber
  • Avoid or minimize exposure to carcinogens (cancer causing agents), for example nicotine found in cigarettes and exposure to ultraviolet rays
  • Learn how to relax and engage in activities of leisure
  • Get annual health check-ups with age appropriate screenings
  • Learn how to reduce stress and gain the ability to effectively cope with stressful situations

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends:

  • Women aged 40 and older should get an annual mammogram and an annual clinical breast exam
  • Women aged 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam done by a healthcare provider every 3 years
  • Women and men, beginning at age 50, should get a colorectal screening
  • Men, beginning at age 45, should get a prostate screening

Sources:

  1. American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans 2005-2006. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2005. Pages 17, 19.
  2. Cancer Fact Sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services. Internet address: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/COM/cancer-fs.html.