Men: Cancer Prevention Tips by Age

UT MD Anderson experts share advice on how to stay healthy at every stage of life

MD Anderson News Release 09/12/11

Men who maintain a healthy body throughout life are often better able to fight off diseases like cancer. That’s why experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have created a guide with cancer prevention tips to help men at every stage of life.

“Practicing the healthy behaviors in our guide is important for all men, regardless of age,” said 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.”

Your 20s: Avoid Alcohol and HPV

Sex, Vaccines and HPV: Most sexually active men will get the human papillomavirus (HPV). This sexually transmitted disease increases a man’s chances of developing penile, anal and head and neck cancers. Men in their 20s can protect their body from this disease by getting the HPV vaccine.

Too Much Booze, You Lose: Men are more likely to be binge drinkers than women. And, research shows that drinking even a small amount of alcohol increases cancer risks. Men can play it safe by having no more than two alcoholic drinks per day.

Your 30s: Gain Muscle, Lose Stress

Put Some Muscle into It: Most men begin to lose muscle mass after age 30. Strength training can prevent muscle loss, build bone density and help the body burn calories faster to keep men at a healthy weight. And, maintaining a healthy weight can help men avoid diseases like cancer.

Take Time to Unwind: Increased responsibilities at home and work can bring increased stress. And, chronic stress affects almost every system in a man’s body and wreaks havoc on its functioning, making it harder to fight off diseases like cancer. Men can help curb stress by doing breathing exercises and other relaxation-type activities like massage or yoga.

Your 40s: Fight the Battle of the Bulge

Avoid Weight Gain: As men get older, their metabolism decreases. This is especially true for men after age 40. Making healthy food choices and staying active every day can help men jumpstart their metabolism and keep off unwanted pounds that could raise their risk of cancer.

Your 50s and older: Get Screened

Schedule a Doctor’s Visit: 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. Finding and treating cancer as early as possible is one of the best ways to beat this disease.

And, in the case of prostate cancer (the most common cancer in men), treating the disease at an early stage means men may be less likely to experience long-term side effects like impotence.

Get annual check-ups

“Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s or 60s, yearly check-ups are a must,” said Bevers. “With the help of your doctor, you can create a personalized health plan to help you stay healthy for many years to come.”

Bevers recommends men download this Screening Exams by Age checklist and take it to their next doctor’s visit.

For the full list of men’s cancer prevention tips by age, visit

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