Cancer and Men Cancer and Men
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Every year, cancer claims the lives of nearly 300,000 men in America. There are ways to reduce the risk for some of the most common types of cancer in men.

In 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 690,000 men in the United States were told they had cancer, and more than 290,000 died from it. Due to advances in early detection and treatment, more men who are diagnosed with cancer are surviving each year.

Lung Cancer

More men in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. About 9 out of every 10 lung cancer deaths in men in this country are due to smoking. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you smoke. You can also reduce your risk of lung cancer by avoiding other people’s smoke and testing your home for radon.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the U.S., not counting skin cancer. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in men. While all men are at risk for prostate cancer, some factors increase risk. These include older age, a family history of prostate cancer, and being African American.

Not all medical experts agree that screening for prostate cancer saves lives. Currently, there is not enough evidence to decide if the potential benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the potential risks. Given the uncertainty about the benefit of screening, CDC supports informed decision making. Informed decision making occurs when a man—

Understands the nature and risk of prostate cancer. Understands the risks of, benefits of, and alternatives to screening. Participates in making the decision to be screened at a level he desires. Makes a decision consistent with his preferences and values. Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

The third leading cause of cancer deaths in American men is colorectal cancer. This cancer is largely preventable through screening. Screening is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50. Screening tests for colorectal cancer can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. People who have a family or personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or certain genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer should talk to their doctors about screening earlier or more often than other people.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable. However, melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous. In 2005, more than 5,000 men in the U.S. died of melanomas of the skin. Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight. The best way to avoid skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen, seeking shade, and wearing sunglasses, a hat, and sun-protective clothing.

Other Types of Cancer

While these are the major cancers that may affect a man’s health, other cancers may affect your health as well. For more information on a specific cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute.