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Men: Health tips for your 50s and older

Focused on Health - August 2013

by Adelina Espat

men 50s doctorStaying in fighting shape is one of your best defenses against cancer and other diseases. Use these tips to help you look and feel good in your 50s and beyond.

Snuff out smoking. 

PROBLEM: More men die from lung cancer each year than prostate cancer. The cause: smoking.  About 90% of lung cancer deaths in men are due to smoking.

FIX: Avoid all tobacco products. Instead of lighting up for an occasional social smoke, pay attention to how good it feels to spend time with friends. Your friends, family and co-workers prefer your company when you’re happy, healthy and smoke-free. Guaranteed.

Screening exams: Just what the doctor ordered

PROBLEM: Cancer is more likely to show up in men age 50 and older. That’s why the majority of cancer screening exams begin at this age for men.

Cancer screening exams are medical tests done when you’re healthy. So, don’t wait for signs of illness to show up to get your check-up. You may think you don’t need to get tested because your body is working just fine. That’s not true. Cancer in its earliest stages usually has no telltale signs.

Finding and treating cancer as early as possible is your best chance at beating the disease. In the case of prostate and colon cancer (common cancers in men), treating the disease at an early stage means you’ll be less likely to experience long-term side effects.

FIX: Talk to your doctor about screening exams recommended for you. Your doctor can help you learn about your personal risk for cancer, and tell you what exams you should get and how often.

health tips ageCan a pill a day keep the doctor away?

PROBLEM: For some men age 50 and older, taking a daily supplement may help lower their chances of getting cancer and other diseases. Our experts say beware. Supplements are not right for everyone. And, researchers are still unsure about whether or not supplements actually help prevent cancer.

FIX: Thinking of taking supplements? Speak with your doctor or a registered dietician first. He or she can decide which pills you really need and what dose you should take. Even if your doctor recommends taking a supplement, your top priority should be getting the nutrients you need from the food you eat.

Get more health tips by age

“Practicing these healthy behaviors is important for all men, regardless of age,” says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. “So take note of all of these tips — even the ones directed toward men older or younger than you.”

Men's health tips for your 20s

Men's health tips for your 30s

Men's health tips for your 40s

Men’s screening exam by age checklist

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center