Cancer Screening in Men Under Age 40

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OncoLink Team
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: March 23, 2012

Cancer screening tests are designed to find cancer or pre-cancerous areas before there are any symptoms and, generally, when treatments are most successful. Learn more about screening tests. Various organizations have developed guidelines for cancer screening for men. While these guidelines vary slightly between different organizations, they cover the same basic screening tests. Screening tests for men generally begin after age 50 and screen for prostate and colorectal cancers. During routine health exams (at any age) your healthcare provider may also evaluate for cancers of the skin, mouth, thyroid and testes. Not all screening tests are right for everyone and your personal and family health history can affect which tests are right for you, so be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer screening generally begins at age 50, however, if you are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, you should have this talk with your doctor starting at age 45. Talk to your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of PSA testing. If you decide to be tested, you should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often you are tested will depend on your PSA level. For more information, please see the ACS document, Prostate Cancer: Early Detection.

Testicular cancer screening

The majority of testicular cancers occur between the ages of 15 and 45. All men should examine their testicles regularly, be familiar with their normal look and feel and report any changes to their healthcare provider for further investigation.

Skin cancer screening

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed today and is one of the easiest to prevent or detect early. Remember that people of all skin tones can, and do, get skin cancer. Start by practicing sun safety, including using a broad spectrum sunscreen (protects against UVA & UVB rays) every day, avoiding peak sun times (10am-4pm, when the rays are strongest) and wearing protective clothing such as hats, sunglasses and long sleeved shirts.

Examine your skin regularly so you become familiar with any moles or birthmarks. If a mole has changed in any way, including a change in size, shape, or color, has developed scaliness, bleeding, or oozing, or has become itchy or painful, or you develop a sore that will not heal, you should have a healthcare provider examine the area. If you have many moles, it may be helpful to make note of moles using pictures or a mole map. SkinCancerNet has a helpful guide to performing a skin exam.

Learn more about the types of skin cancer on OncoLink and the American Academy of Dermatology's SkinCancerNet and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

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