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Baylor College of Medicine News

Men should talk with physician, make cancer screening plans

When it comes to cancer screenings, every man is different with regards to what age and how often he should be screened, a men’s health expert from Baylor College of Medicine said.

"When we talk about routine men's health, we're talking prostate cancer and colon cancer screenings,” said Dr. Mohit Khera, assistant professor of urology at BCM.

Start with family history

Family history of cancer is something men should be aware of, said Khera.

"Each man should know his updated history and discuss that with his doctor," he said. "Know which relative was diagnosed and at what age."

Depending on that history, a man may be put in a higher risk class for the certain type of cancer, he said.

Colon cancer

Also, certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, have a higher risk for prostate cancer and colon cancer. Khera uses colonoscopy recommendations as an example of how screenings can vary from man to man.

"For men with an average risk of colon cancer, they should start colon cancer screening at age 50 and continue every 10 years," he said. "But men with a family history might need to start earlier or continue more frequently."

Regardless, the screening plan should be made between the patient and his doctor based on the individual's history.

Prostate cancer

Recent updates in prostate cancer screening guidelines may cause confusion for some men, Khera said.

Though routine PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening for men between the ages of 40 to 54 is not recommended for men with an average risk, thosewith a family history, or over the age of 55 may require a different plan.

The American Urological Association recently clarified its statement on prostate cancer screening, which may be helpful information for men, Khera said.

A primary care doctor may seek counsel from a genetic expert or specialist to help make the decision about screening, Khera said.