Men's Health Month is celebrated each year during the month of June to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.
1. Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen. The prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The size of the prostate changes with age. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.
Each year in New York State, about 14,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and almost 1,700 men die of the disease. Risk factors of prostate cancer include:
- Age – About 2/3 of cases are diagnosed in men age 65 and older.
- Race – Risk is highest among African American men and lowest in Asian men.
- Family health history – Men whose close relatives (father, brother, son) have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it.
Symptoms include difficult or painful urination, difficulty having an erection, blood in urine or semen, and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs. Talk with your health care practitioner about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening and whether it is right for you.
2. Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the US is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. The narrowing and buildup of plaques is called atherosclerosis. Plaques are a mixture of fatty and other substances including cholesterol and other lipids. Blood flow to the heart is reduced, which reduces oxygen to the heart muscle. This can lead to heart attack.
Risk factors include smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, and stress. To prevent cardiovascular disease, the CDC recommends following a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, maintaing a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking, and limiting alcohol use.
3. Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women, claiming more lives each year than colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined. Smoking causes the majority of lung cancers in both smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke. However, lung cancer may occur in people who have never smoked and/or those who have never had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke.
Risk factors include smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to radon gas, exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens, and a family health history of lung cancer. If you smoke and have been unable to quit, make an appointment with your health care practitioner or call NYS Smokers Quitline 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).
4. Skin Cancer
Skin cancer — the abnormal growth of skin cells — most often develops on skin exposed to the sun. But this common form of cancer can also occur on areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.Risk factors include having fair skin, a history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, living in sunny or high-altitude climates, the presence of moles on your skin, and a family health history of skin cancer. Skin exams are a great way to help detect early findings of cancer.
To protect your skin, remember to wear sunscreen year-round and try to stay in the shade when you can.
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