Sticking to regular check-ups, exercising as often as possible, and watching what you put into your body are all key to keeping cancer at bay.
Affects 1 in 18 men
Men over the age of 65 and of African ancestry are most at risk of prostate cancer. All men over the age of 50 should be tested every two years, says Dr Owen Nosworthy, an oncologist at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre. Those with a family history of cancer should be tested annually after they turn 45.
Keep a cap on your intake of unhealthy fats. Stick to fish and vegetables and cut down on red meat and dairy.
Affects 1 in 76 men
The disease is often “silent” in the early stages, and you may only notice symptoms – such as shortness of breath, uncontrolled coughing, irregular sputum, and coughing up blood – once the cancer is advanced.
Lung cancer is a major risk for anyone who is older than 50, with a history of smoking or chronic obstructive airway disease (COPD). Smoking is linked to more than 90% of lung cancer cases, says Dr Yael Mark, a radiation oncologist at the Sandton Oncology Centre. “It can’t be overstated how important it is to quit smoking and not be around cigarette smoke,” she says.
Affects 1 in 81 men
Warning signs of this disease include blood in the stool and persistent abdominal pain – but many people who suffer from colorectal cancer show no symptoms, says Dr Nosworthy. Prolonged diarrhoea or constipation are reason enough to see your doctor.
Regular screening for anyone over 50 is crucial, urges Dr Nosworthy, and an annual check-up, usually by colonoscopy, is recommended once a decade for men over 50. Small blood particles in the faeces may be a warning sign, and a faecal occult blood test will check for these.
To reduce your risk, watch your weight, get regular exercise, limit your alcohol intake, and stick to regular check-up appointments with your GP.
Affects 1 in 147 men
The majority of bladder cancer patients are white men older than 50. Some of the first signs of bladder cancer are blood in the urine, a change in urine colour, an inability to urinate or a burning sensation when urinating.
CT and MRI scans can pick up signs of cancer in the bladder. To confirm a diagnosis, a doctor can perform a cystoscopy, inserting a catheter fitted with a tiny camera into the urethra to examine the bladder lining.
Avoid exposure to dangerous chemicals, including smoke, says Dr October. Smoking doubles your chances of developing bladder cancer, as the body processes harmful chemicals in the smoke through urine, and these can damage the lining of your bladder.
Affects one in 315 men
This skin cancer causes lesions to grow under the skin, in the lymph nodes, internal organs and mucous membranes lining the mouth, nose, and throat. It often affects people with immune deficiencies, such as HIV or Aids.
There are no routine screening tests to catch Kaposi sarcoma in people who are not at increased risk, so self check-ups are essential: keep an eye on your skin, as the disease usually manifests in visible lesions. A biopsy of the affected area can determine whether the growth is cancerous. To protect your immune system, avoid risky sexual practices, and stay away from used intravenous needles.