SASKATOON – September is Mens’ Cancer Awareness Month and a Saskatoon doctor is urging men to take the steps needed to prevent cancer.
“The older you get, as your immunity gets lower, you need to be more aware,” said Dr. Johnmark Opondo, who is working with the Canadian Cancer Society to push for more awareness.
“Most cancers can be prevented – there’s a variety of things you can do,” he said.
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Opondo said much of it are tips that people have been hearing for years: eat more fruits and vegetables, and avoid smoking. He also stressed the importance of being active.
“Sitting too much is actually as dangerous as smoking – there’s data that shows that, and talking about smoking, avoid cigarette smoke and tobacco smoke,” he said.
Opondo said the most common cancer for men is prostate cancer, but colorectal cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer are also fairly common. Getting regular tests, he said, is very important.
“One key piece is you need to remember that there’s medical screening and testing that can detect many of these cancers at an early stage,” he said, “where they can either be completely prevented, or found early enough that treatment is available.”
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But one of the problems is that men tend to shy away from testing.
“Men are pretty universal and global, men typically wait – Saskatchewan is no different than anywhere else in Canada or the world – men wait until after they’ve developed symptoms,” he said.
Opondo said a common test for prostate cancer is one example.
“The test for that quite simple…, but it’s quite an uncomfortable test for men who don’t normally go and see their physician,” he said.
“So just man up, go and see your doctor and take the test.”
One way to remind men to get tested, he said, is available on the Canadian Cancer Society’s website. Reminder for life will send men an annual reminder about what they might need to discuss with their doctor, depending on the age.
It’s one more tool in the fight against cancer.