Prevention and Wellness

Answers to Common Cancer Prevention Questions

Premier Physician Network doctors answer frequently asked questions about cancer prevention.

What is a person’s family history?

Dr. Ordway discusses family history. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript

 

A medical family history is a record of the health background of your close relatives, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Because family members often have things in common – including genes, environment, and lifestyle – medical conditions frequently can continue through generations and along family lines, according to the NIH.

A medical health history should include information such as diseases, chronic conditions, age of diagnosis, ethnic background, and racial background, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s HealthOff Site Icon (HHS).

Talk to your doctor for more information about family history.

Learn more:

When speaking to a physician, should family history only include first-degree relatives?

Dr. Ordway discusses what a family history should include. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript

 

A complete family medical history includes health information about at least three generations of relatives, including children, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandparents, and cousins, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

When it comes to some conditions – like cancers – sharing details about even distant relatives can be important, according to the NIH. Having even a distant relative with cancer in their medical history can put you at risk of developing the same type of cancer.

Knowing your full family health history can help your physician decide when the right time is to do certain health screenings and testing, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how many relatives to include in your family medical history.

Learn more:

Why is it important for someone to know their family history when it pertains to cancer prevention?

Knowing your family medical history can make a big difference in your cancer prevention efforts, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

If you have an increased risk of cancer because of your family medical history, your doctor might recommend frequent or early screenings or tests for the types of cancer that run in your family, according to the NIH.

Some types of cancer are considered hereditary and can be detected by genetic testing, according to the American Society of Clinical OncologyOff Site Icon (ASCO). Knowing a type of cancer is hereditary can help doctors create even more personalized care for patients.

For more information about how family medical history can help with cancer prevention, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

How can someone find out when they should be screened for cancer?

Dr. Ordway discusses cancer screenings. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript

 

The best way to find out if you should be screened for cancer is to talk to your doctor, according to Premier Physician Network physicians. Every person is different, and your family medical history can help determine when is right for you to get different types of cancer screenings.

Talk to your doctor for more information about cancer screenings and when they might be right for you.

Learn more:

What are examples of certain cancers that might warrant earlier screening because of family history of cancer?

All cancer screenings can be important, but some screenings might need to be done earlier than usual if you have a family history of cancer.

For men, screenings for colon cancer and prostate cancer might need to be done starting at a younger age if you have an increased risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

For women, breast cancer and colon cancer screenings might be recommended by your doctor at an earlier age if you have a family history or other risk factors that increase your chances of cancer, according to the ACS.

Talk to your doctor for more information about cancer screenings that might be done earlier.

Learn more:

Can all cancers be prevented, and how do we know this through recent research?

Multiple studies in recent years, including one reported the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), state how most types of cancer are preventable through lifestyle changes.

It is believed that only 5 percent to 10 percent of all cancer cases – more than 10,000 worldwide each year – can be attributed to genetic defects, according to the NIH. That leaves 90 percent to 95 percent of cancer cases where the cause can be attributed to environment and lifestyle choices.

Those lifestyle and environmental choices could include smoking, diet, alcohol use, sun exposure, pollutants in the environment, infections, obesity, stress and physical inactivity, according to the NIH.

For more information about which cancers can be prevented, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What is the prostate, and what role does it play in a man’s health?

Dr. Ordway discusses the prostate and how it affects a man’s health. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript

 

The prostate is a gland found only in men. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

The prostate holds cells that make up some parts of semen – the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm, according to the ACS.

For more information about the prostate, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What are the screening tools for prostate cancer?

There are two main types of prostate cancer screenings – a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC):

  • DRE – In this exam, a doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any lumps or abnormalities. The check also feels for the size of the prostate.
  • PSA – This exam measures the levels of PSA – a substance made by the prostate – in the blood. High levels of PSA in the blood can be a sign of prostate cancer, or another prostate condition.

Having these screenings can help find prostate cancer in its early stages so treatment can be started as soon as possible.

Talk with your doctor for more information about prostate screening tools and when and if they are right for you.

Learn more:

How can consumption of certain food – for example red meat, salt or sugar – increase someone’s risk for developing cancer?

Eating a healthy diet is not only part of improving your overall health but also part of reducing your risk of getting cancer, according the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

The foods we eat regularly make up our diet, and diet is one of many things being studied as a risk factor for cancer, according to the National Cancer InstituteOff Site Icon (NCI). For example, some studies have shown:

  • Fruits and non-starchy vegetables could help protect against mouth, esophagus and stomach cancers
  • Fruits might protect against lung cancer
  • High-fat, protein, calories, and red meat diets could increase the risk of colorectal cancer

To reduce your cancer risk by watching what foods you eat, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoid creamy sauces and dressings for fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grains
  • Don’t eat salty foods
  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Limit eating refined carbohydrates, including candy, pastries, sweetened breakfast cereal and other high-sugar food
  • Limit the amount of processed meats you eat, including bacon, sausage, lunch meats and hot dogs

For more information about how foods increase your cancer risk, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

How does smoking or tobacco use increase someone’s risk for developing cancer?

Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for developing lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC). Other tobacco use also increases the risk of lung cancer.

Tobacco smoke is a mix of more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, many of which are poisonous, and at least 70 of which are known to cause cancer, according to the CDC.

Smoking is linked to about 90 percent of lung cancers in the U.S., according to the CDC, and people who smoke are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who don’t smoke.

For more information about how smoking and tobacco use cause lung cancer, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Are there different forms of skin cancer, and how does it develop?

There are three different types of skin cancer, and each is named for the type of cell that becomes cancerous, according to the National Cancer InstituteOff Site Icon (NCI).

The three types of skin cancer, according to the NCI, are:

  • Basal cell: The face is the most common place to find this type of skin cancer, which usually occurs in places that have been exposed to the sun. Basal cell skin cancer is the most common form for people with fair skin to have.
  • Melanoma: This type of cancer can happen on any surface skin, but on men it’s most common on the head, neck and between the shoulders and hips. In women, it’s most often on the lower legs or between the shoulders and hips. Melanoma is rare in people with dark skin, but if they do have it, it is usually found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet.
  • Squamous cell: This is the most common form of cancer in people with dark skin, for whom it is usually found in places that are not frequently in the sun, such as the legs and feet. In fair-skinned people, this cancer usually occurs on the head, face, ears and neck, which have been exposed to sun.

Skin cancer develops as regular skin cells start to grow abnormally, according to the American Academy of DermatologyOff Site Icon (AAD). Oftentimes it develops on parts of the skin that have been exposed to the sun without proper protection, like sunscreen.

For more information about types of skin cancer and how it develops, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What lifestyle habits can increase someone’s risk of developing skin cancer?

Sometimes you can put yourself at risk of developing skin cancer without even realizing it.

According to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS), some lifestyle behaviors that can put you at risk of developing skin cancer include:

  • Choosing to use a tanning bed or intentionally spending a lot of time outside to get tan
  • Having occupational exposure to arsenic compounds, coal tar, creosote, pitch or radium
  • Ignoring a family history of skin cancer
  • Ignoring unusual moles rather than having them checked out
  • Not using sunscreen anytime you will be outside, even on overcast days

For more information about behaviors that put you at risk of developing skin cancer, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

How can exercise help reduce someone’s risk for diseases like cancer?

Research has shown that physical activity likely can help reduce cancer risk, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

The NIH states that several studies have shown links between exercise and reduced risk of the following types of cancer:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Endometrial (uterus)
  • Lung
  • Prostate

Exercising decreases levels of insulin in the blood stream and improves other factors that would otherwise increase the risk of cancer, according to Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians.

Talk with your physician for more information about how exercise can help reduce someone’s risk for diseases like cancer.

Learn more:

How important is exercise in a person’s overall health?

Regular exercise can have great benefits to most areas of your overall health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

Before starting any new exercise routine, talk with your health care provider to decide the best option for you. Fortunately, moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which could include brisk walking or swimming, is safe for most people.

Some of the benefits the CDC states that exercise can have on overall health include:

  • Controls weight
  • Helps prevent falls for older adults
  • Improves mental health
  • Improves mood
  • Improves your ability to do daily activities
  • Increases odds of longer life
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces risk of some cancers
  • Strengthens bones and muscles

In addition to these benefits, exercise also can help improve sleep, help control depression and anxiety, improve self-image, boost energy levels, and release tension, according to the American Heart AssociationOff Site Icon (AHA).

For more information about how exercise is important to your overall health, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What other type of lifestyle changes are important to reduce one’s risk of cancer?

Making positive, healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of cancer, as well as other major health concerns, such as heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

The CDC recommends making the follow lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of cancer and other leading causes of death:

  • Avoid tobacco use
  • Be physically active on a consistent basis
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Limit sun and UV ray exposure
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Talk to your doctor for more information about how lifestyle changes can help reduce your cancer risk.

Learn more:

Is there a difference between ultraviolet light exposures outside and in a tanning bed? Is exposure in a tanning bed as harmful?

Tanning – whether you get tan outside or in a tanning bed – puts you at risk of developing skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer FoundationOff Site Icon (SCF).

All tans are caused by harmful forms of ultraviolet radiation and cause damage to your skin cells. At a minimum, the damage of years of exposure to tanning can cause premature skin aging – including wrinkles, sagging skin and brown spots, according to the SCF.

Statistics show that people who use UV tanning beds and tanning lamps are 74 percent more likely to develop skin cancer than people who have only gotten tan while outside, according to the SCF.

For more information about tanning indoors and outside, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

How can someone enjoy spending time in the sun without putting themselves at risk for developing skin cancer?

Spending time in the sun enjoying your favorite outdoor activities is fun, and you don’t have to skip out on that to avoid the risk of skin cancer.

The best ways to lower your risk of skin cancer while being outside in the sun, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS), include:

  • Apply and reapply sunscreen and lip balm that is SPF 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours (or more frequently if swimming or sweating)
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when possible
  • Look for shade, especially in the middle of the day
  • Protect your skin even on overcast days
  • Put on a hat, preferably one with a wide brim that shades your face, neck and ears
  • Wear protective clothing that is comfortable and made of tightly woven fabrics
  • Wear sunglasses with 99 percent to 100 percent UV absorption

For more information about spending time in the sun while staying safe from skin cancer, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What is the human papillomavirus? What is the best way to reduce the risk of getting HPV?

Human papilloma virus – commonly known as HPV – is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

There are more than 100 kinds of HPV, most of them are harmless, according the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). But, about 30 can cause cervical dysplasia – changes to cells on the surface of the uterus that can be a sign of cancer.

The best way to prevent HPV is to get the HPV vaccine, according to the NIH. If girls get the vaccine before becoming sexually active, they reduce their chances of getting cervical cancer.

The vaccine is recommended for girls and women ages 11 through 26, and boys and men ages 11 through 21. It is given in three doses over a six month period, according to the CDC.

For people who are sexually active, using condoms from start to finish of every sex act can help lower the risk of HPV, but they do not fully protect against it, according to the CDC.

For more information about HPV and how to prevent it, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

When should the HPV vaccine be given to be most effective, and what are the concerns about the vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is the best way to prevent getting HPV, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). If girls get the vaccine before becoming sexually active, they reduce their chances of getting cervical cancer.

The vaccine is recommended for girls and women ages 11 through 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC). It is also recommended that boys and men ages 11 through 21 get the vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is given in three doses over a six month period, according to the CDC.

Though the vaccine has been used around the world for about six years and has been safe, there are still some concerns about it.

Like many medications, there is the possibility it could cause a severe allergic reaction, according to the NIH. That kind of life-threatening reaction from a vaccine, however, is very rare.

Other mild to moderate side problems with the vaccine that could be of concern, according to the NIH, include:

  • Brief fainting spells
  • Headache
  • Mild to moderate fever
  • Pain and redness at the injection site

The HPV vaccine, like all vaccines, will continue to be monitored to ensure its safety, according to the NIH.

For more information about when to get the HPV vaccine and concerns about it, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What are the current recommendations for prostate screenings?

If you are considering having a prostate cancer screening, the best place to start is talking with your doctor to find out what option might be best for you.

According to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS), the current recommendations for prostate screenings are as follows:

  • Beginning at age 40 – Screening should be done for men at high risk, with at least one first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) who had prostate cancer at an early age – younger than 65.
  • Beginning at age 45 – Men at high risk of developing prostate cancer should be screened, specifically including African American men with a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age.
  • Age 50 and older – Men at average risk for prostate cancer and who are expected to live at least 10 more years should be screened.

If no prostate cancer is found during the screening, the ACS recommends men who have had a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test should be retested at the following times:

  • PSA less than 2.5 ng/mL – get retested every two years
  • PSA higher than 2.5 ng/mL – get tested annually

For more information about the recommendations for prostate cancer screenings, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What steps can a man take to reduce his risk for prostate cancer?

Though there isn’t a way to directly prevent prostate cancer, there are a variety of risk factors that can be controlled to help reduce the risk, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

The ACS recommends:

  • be physically active
  • eat a well-balanced diet, including at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day
  • maintain a healthy weight

Premier Health Specialists’ physicians say that following a heart-healthy diet promotes good prostate health.

Talk to your doctor for more information about what men can do to reduce their risk of prostate cancer.

Learn more:

What are the different types of skin cancer?

Dr. Wilcher discusses types of skin cancer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

There are three main types of skin cancer, and each is named for the type of cell that becomes cancerous, according to the National Cancer InstituteOff Site Icon (NCI).

The three main types of skin cancer, according to the NCI, are:

  • Basal cell: The face is the most common place to find this type of skin cancer, which usually occurs in places that have been exposed to the sun. Basal cell skin cancer is the most common form for people with fair skin to have.
  • Melanoma: This type of cancer can happen on any surface skin, but on men it’s most common on the head, neck and between the shoulders and hips. In women, it’s most often on the lower legs or between the shoulders and hips. Melanoma is rare in people with dark skin, but if they do have it, it is usually found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet.
  • Squamous cell: This is the most common form of cancer in people with dark skin, for whom it is usually found in places that are not frequently in the sun, such as the legs and feet. In fair skinned people, this cancer usually occurs on the head, face, ears and neck, which have been exposed to sun.

Skin cancer develops as regular skin cells start to grow abnormally, according to the American Academy of DermatologyOff Site Icon (AAD). Oftentimes, it develops on parts of the skin that have been exposed to the sun without proper protection, like sunscreen.

For more information about types of skin cancer, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Who should be evaluated for skin cancer?

Dr. Wilcher discusses who should be evaluated for skin cancer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

The Skin Cancer FoundationOff Site Icon (SCF) states that it is important for people to do a monthly head-to-toe exam of their skin so they can be aware of any changes that could be cancerous or precancerous.

Having a suspicious looking mole or skin growth, especially one that bleeds and/or does not heal, for example, would be an important reason to visit your primary care provider or dermatologist to be evaluated for skin cancer, according to Premier Health Specialists’ (PHS) physicians.

Melanoma has some hereditary ties, so if you have a strong family history of melanoma, it is important to be watchful and keep a close eye on any skin changes, according to PHS physicians.

Being evaluated through a full skin exam by your physician every year can also help find and treat any issues early, according to the SCF.

For more information about skin cancer evaluations, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What role does surgery play in the diagnosis or treatment of skin cancer?

Dr. Wilcher discusses the role surgery in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Surgery plays a large role in both the diagnosis and the treatment of skin cancer.

If your doctor suspects that you have skin cancer, the diagnosis is confirmed by having a surgical biopsy, in which part of the skin cancer is removed to be examined and tested, according to the Skin Cancer FoundationOff Site Icon (SCF).

Most of the time, skin cancer also is treated surgically by excision or through Mohs surgery, according to Premier Health Specialists’ (PHS) physicians.

Mohs surgery has been found to be the most effective way to remove certain types of skin cancer in certain locations, such as basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, and also now is being used more and more often to treat certain forms of Melanoma, according to the SCF.

Talk to your doctor for more information about the role surgery plays in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.

Learn more:

What are the different types of breast reconstruction?

Dr. Hicks discusses types of breast reconstruction. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Breast reconstruction surgery is an option some women choose to rebuild the shape of the breast after some or all of the breast has been removed because of cancer.

There are two main types of breast reconstruction procedures that are most common, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

The ACS describes the procedures as follows:

  • Breast implants – These implants can be filled with saline, which is a sterile salt water, or with silicone gel. The saline implants have been used the longest. The gel implants look and feel more natural. This type of reconstruction surgery has a shorter recovery time and is the most common types in the U.S.
  • Tissue flap procedures – This uses your own tissue to reshape the breast. Tissue is removed from another part of the body, such as the stomach, back, or thighs. Recovery is longer for this surgery because there is more surgery in multiple locations on the body. However, they look and feel more natural than implants. This procedure can leave scars at the second surgical site.

In some cases, women decided the best option for them is a combination of these two procedures, according to the ACS.

Talk to your doctor for more information about different types of breast reconstruction.

Learn more:

Who is a candidate for breast reconstruction?

Dr. Hicks discusses who could be a candidate for breast reconstruction. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Anyone who has had a lumpectomy or a mastectomy to remove breast tissue is a candidate for breast reconstruction surgery, according to Premier Health Specialists’ (PHS) physicians.

A patient interested in breast reconstruction needs to be in generally good health and understand the possible risks of the surgery, said the PHS physicians.

Some women choose to wait awhile after their lumpectomy or mastectomy to have the surgery, according to the PHS physicians. There isn’t a specific cut-off date for when a woman can decide to have reconstruction surgery.

For more information about breast reconstruction surgery and who is a candidate for the procedure, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

How can a woman know if breast reconstruction is right for her?

Dr. Hicks discusses how a woman can know if breast reconstruction is right for her. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Breast reconstruction is something available to all women who have had a lumpectomy or a mastectomy because of breast cancer. However, choosing to have breast reconstruction surgery is a completely individual decision, according to the American Academy of Plastic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAPS).

The AAPS states that breast reconstruction surgery might be a good option for a woman who:

  • Does not have additional medical conditions or illnesses to cause problems with healing
  • Is able to cope well with her diagnosis and treatment
  • Has a positive outlook about body image
  • Has realistic goals of recovery

However, the way for one person to move forward might not be the same way another person chooses to move forward, according to the AAPS.

The best first step is to have a conversation with your primary care provider to discuss your options, health, and timing to decide what’s best for you.

For more information about how to decide if breast reconstruction is right for you, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Do all colon polyps develop into cancer?

The majority of colon polyps will not become cancer, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal SurgeonsOff Site Icon (ASCRS). 
 
However, having colon polyps removed reduces your future risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to the ASCRS. 
 
Almost all polyps can be removed without surgery during a colonoscopy, which is an exam of the inside of the large intestine, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon(NIH). 
 
For more information about whether all colon polyps develop into cancer, talk with your doctor. 
 
Learn more:  
 

Does the presence of a colon polyp indicate a person has a higher risk for cancer?

Having a colon polyp can increase a person’s risk for cancer, according to Premier Health SpecialistsOff Site Icon (PHS) physicians.  
 
Depending on the number of polyps found, their size, and how easily they were removed, it can be important to have follow up a colonoscopy more frequently to help detect colon cancer early in case future polyps develop, PHS physicians say. 

Talk to your doctor to learn more about colon polyps indicating an increased risk for cancer. 

Learn more:  

 

Are colon polyps common?

Colon polyps are a common finding during screening exams of the colon and rectum, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal SurgeonsOff Site Icon (ASCRS).  
 
The polyps are abnormal growths and affect 20 percent to 30 percent of American adults, according to the ASCRS. 
Talk to your doctor to learn more about how common colon polyps are. 
 
Learn more:

 

What are the screening recommendations for colon cancer?

Dr. Kenneth Reed discusses screening recommendations for colon cancer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Generally, it’s recommended that you be screened for colon cancer beginning at age 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

You should have repeat screenings at regular intervals decided on by you and your doctor. Usually, screenings are repeated every 10 years.

Depending on your family and personal history, you might need to start being screened before you turn 50.

Getting tested earlier – even as early as age 40 – can depend on if you:

  • Have had or a close relative has had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Have a genetic syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis or Lynch syndrome

For more information about screening recommendations for colon cancer, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Explain the different types of colon cancer screening tests – fecal immunochemical test, fecal occult test, and colonoscopy.

Dr. Kenneth Reed discusses different types of colon cancer screening tests. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

There are a variety of options available to screen for colon cancer.

Three of those options, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC), include:

  • Colonoscopy – During this test, a doctor uses a long, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check inside your rectum and your entire colon for polyps or cancer. Polyps and even some cancers can be removed during the screening, if they’re found. A colonoscopy is also used as a follow-up test to other screenings if anything abnormal is found. Typically, if you are 50 or older, you should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.
  • Fecal immunochemical test – Known as the FIT, this test uses antibodies to find blood in your stool sample. This test mainly finds cancer, not polyps. It should be done annually.
  • Fecal occult test – With this screening, a chemical is used to test your stool sample to check if any blood is present. It mainly finds cancer, not polyps. Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say this is an older test that is not used as often as others because it can be less sensitive than other colon cancer screenings.

For more information about these and other colon cancer screenings, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Why are some colon cancer screenings chosen over others?

Dr. Kenneth Reed discusses why to choose one colon cancer screening over another. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

The main difference among the variety of colorectal cancer screenings available is that some tests only find existing cancer, while other tests find cancer and polyps, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

And with the second variety of tests, if a polyp is found, it can usually be removed during the screening to help prevent future colorectal cancer.

Talk with your doctor to learn more about the different types of screenings and decide which is right for you.

Learn more:

How should I decide what type of colon cancer screening to use?

Dr. Kenneth Reed discusses how to decide which colon cancer screening to use. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Talking to your doctor – your primary care provider or your gastroenterologist – is the best way to decide what type of colon cancer screening is right for you, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

Your personal preferences, medical conditions and resources all can play a part in which test might be best for you, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

Your doctor can give you more specific information about each type of screening and guide you toward which might be best for you.

Learn more:

How common is male breast cancer?

Dr. Thomas Heck discusses how common male breast cancer is. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Breast cancer is 100 times less common among white men than white women, and 70 times less common among black men than black women, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

In 2018, an estimated 2,550 new cases of invasive male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., and about 480 men will die from breast cancer in the U.S.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how common male breast cancer is.

Learn more:

How does breast cancer appear in men?

Dr. Thomas Heck discusses how breast cancer appears in men. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Male breast cancer appears with a lump or swelling in the breast or lymph node area of the chest, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

The lump can be painful but is often painless.

Other signs of breast cancer in men could include:

  • Nipple discharge
  • Nipple turning inward
  • Redness of the nipple or breast tissue
  • Scaling of the nipple or breast tissue
  • Skin dimpling or puckering

For more information about how breast cancer appears in men, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Are breast cancer symptoms different in men than in women?

Dr. Thomas Heck discusses whether breast cancer symptoms are different in men than in women. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Symptoms of breast cancer in both men and women are similar, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

The major difference is how much more common breast cancer is in women than in men.

Less than 1 percent of all breast cancer is male breast cancer, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

For more information about whether breast cancer symptoms are different in men and women, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

What can men do to reduce their risk of breast cancer?

Dr. Thomas Heck discusses how men can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Men can help lower their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy body weight and limiting alcohol consumption, according to the American Cancer SocietyOff Site Icon (ACS).

Exercise is also something men can control that can help reduce their risk of breast cancer, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

To learn more about what men can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer, talk to your doctor.

Learn more:


Schedule an appointment

To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider, call (866) 608-FIND(866) 608-FIND or complete the form below to receive a call from our scheduling department to make an appointment.

 

Source: Susan Davis-Brown, MD, Brookville Family Care; Dori Thompson, MD, Springboro Family Medicine; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine; Chandan Gupta, MD, Monroe Medical Center; Joshua Ordway, MD, Franklin Family Practice; Mark Ringle, MD, Beavercreek Family Physicians; Douglas Gaker, MD, Premier Urology Center; J. Scott Wilcher, MD, North Dayton Surgeons; Todd Hicks, Premier Plastic Surgeons; Geetha Ambalavanan, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Kenneth Reed, DO, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Thomas Heck, MD, Gem City Surgical Breast Cancer Center

Content Updated: April 24, 2019

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.