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5 Fast Facts: Myths About Men and Cancer

Man talks to physician pointing at tablet screen

June is National Men’s Health Month. While the possibility of a cancer diagnosis can be intimidating, it is important to understand the risks and warning signs. We wanted to dispel some common myths about men and cancer so that men and their loved ones know the facts and can hopefully prevent or successfully treat this disease.1

        1. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. Not true.
          According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), skin cancers (both melanoma and nonmelanoma) are the most common cancers among men in the United States.4 And White men over 55 are the demographic most likely to get diagnosed with melanoma.5 Avoiding the sun, covering your skin, and wearing sunscreen are all easy ways you can reduce the risk of skin cancer.6

        2. Men can’t get breast cancer. Not true.
          The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2022 an estimated 2710 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 530 men will die from this disease. Learn more about how you can watch for the warning signs of breast cancer in men. 2,3

        3. I am too young to worry about cancer. Not true.
          While older adults are more likely to get cancer, young people can still be diagnosed with the disease.5 The most common cancer for young men between the ages of 15 and 34 is testicular cancer, so regular annual exams are critical to finding cancer early when treatment is likely to work best.5,6

        4. Prostate cancer doesn’t run in my family, so I don’t need to worry about it. Not true.
          Family history can increase your odds of a diagnosis, but most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it. Approximately one in eight men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and about one in 41 will die from prostate cancer.7 The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men discuss with their doctor about whether to be screened for prostate cancer.8 This can be recommended for men who are at higher risk, such as men who are 40 years old, African American, or have one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.8,7

        5. Prostate cancer always causes erectile dysfunction. Not true.
          This is an understandable concern for prostate cancer patients but certainly isn’t inevitable. Advances in minimally invasive and robotic surgery have greatly decreased the incidence of erectile dysfunction after prostatectomy.

 

References

    1. How to Prevent Cancer or Find It Early – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    2. Breast Cancer in Men – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    3. Key Statistics for Breast Cancer in Men – American Cancer Society
    4. Melanoma: Statistics – ASCO
    5. Ask the Expert: Why Are More Men Dying of Skin Cancer? – Skin Cancer Foundation
    6. Melanoma Strikes Men Harder – American Academy of Dermatology
    7. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer – American Cancer Society
    8. American Cancer Society Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Early Detection – American Cancer Society
    9. 9 Myths About Black Men and Prostate Cancer – Health Central