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Cancer prevention tips for men

According to the World Health Organization, one-third of all cancer cases can be prevented, primarily by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Men’s Health Month is the ideal time to start living a healthier life. It will help you reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. To help you get started, we’ve gathered cancer prevention tips for men from care providers throughout our hospitals.

Overall health

Dr. David Boyd of CTCA in in Goodyear, Arizona recommends seven lifestyle changes to decrease your cancer risk:

  1. Don’t smoke: The association between smoking and many cancers is widely known. If you currently smoke, ask your doctor to work with you to develop a plan to quit.
  2. Use sun protection: Skin cancer is one of the most preventable malignancies. Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Use sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and reapply often. Avoid tanning beds too.
  3. Eat a healthy diet: Eat lean protein, very limited fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
  4. Maintain a healthy body weight: The link between obesity and a variety of cancers that affect men and women is well known. Almost 50 percent of people are overweight. A healthy diet and at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week will help you maintain a balanced weight.
  5. Get immunized: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer in women, and anal and throat cancer in both men and women. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to liver cancer. Speak with your doctor about whether vaccines for HPV and hepatitis B are appropriate for you.
  6. Get screened: Men should get screened for prostate, colorectallung (if they smoke), oral and skin cancer. Speak with your doctor about the appropriate time to start screening for these cancers.
  7. Practice safe sex: Limit sexual partners and use condoms. The more sexual partners a person has over a lifetime equates to a higher likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted infection such as HPV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV can lead to AIDS and a higher risk of many cancers.

Diet

“Men and women have different nutritional needs,” says Brooke McIntyre, RD, CSO, LD, a registered and licensed dietitian at CTCA in Tulsa. “Just as women need particular nutrients during pregnancy or for protection from cancer, men need nutrients that can help them maintain muscle mass and help prevent prostate, colon and stomach cancer, as well as other diseases.”

McIntyre says it’s critical for men to regularly consume a diet rich in a variety of essential nutrients. She also recommends:

  • Eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Decreasing consumption of processed, packaged foods
  • Eating lean meats (e.g., fish, chicken) and whole grains
  • Eating fewer carbs and less red meat (18 ounces or less per week)
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

McIntyre also notes that foods that support cardiovascular health can be good for erectile function.

Exercise

Lisa Poormon, PT, DPT, M Ed, CLT, a physical therapist at CTCA in in Goodyear, Arizona, advises men to:

  • Participate in 2.5 hours of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every week. Regular exercise is the key, so it’s best to spread it out through the week.
  • Limit sedentary behaviors such as sitting, lying down and watching TV. Work in your yard, hike, putter in the garage, paint your house, bike, walk around the block, play with your children or grandchildren, dance or participate in sports. All types of physical activity have health benefits.

“Do what you love to do, and keep it simple but effective,” says Poormon. She also suggests these strategies to increase your activity:

  • When you go on an outing, park in the spot that’s farther away from the building or destination and walk to it.
  • Don’t always e-mail your coworker. Get up and walk over to their desk to talk to them.
  • If you are working in a seated position, make it a priority to get up every 30 to 60 minutes to stretch and move.
  • If you are watching TV, make it a habit to stand and march in place or get up and do something during commercials.

Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…”

Make strides to change your lifestyle today so you can increase your chances of living a longer, fuller life.

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