By now you know that cancer has a shit list. At the top? Your prostate. But all that time you’ve been guarding your gland from harm, cancer has been steadily rounding up more victims. In fact, diagnoses among men are expected to increase by 24 per cent from 2010 to 2020, according to a 2015 study from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US. The main casualties? Kidneys, liver, pancreas, thyroid and skin – even your testicles made the list. But you don’t have to cower in the face of cancer. This anti-tumour plan will give you the balls to tell cancer to f**k off.
WARNING SIGNS Newly diagnosed diabetes (more so with type 2 diabetes), loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, jaundice, back or abdominal pain
Pancreatic cancer is a sugar fiend. The disease’s rise can be attributed in part to soaring type 2 diabetes rates, says epidemiologist Dr Harvey Risch. That’s because cancerous pancreatic cells rely on glucose for growth. And while tumours in general are bad news, they’re especially dangerous if they develop in the pancreas. The organ sits next to important blood vessels, making a mass very difficult if not impossible to remove, Risch says.
F#@K THE BIG C Hit the weights to protect your pancreas. In a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, people who performed 50 minutes of high-intensity resistance training for seven weeks reduced their fasting glucose levels by about 0.7mmol/L after just 10 minutes of post-workout recovery. Your muscles burn blood sugar for fuel in order to grow, the study authors say.
WARNING SIGNS Weight loss (without trying), no appetite, abdominal swelling, nausea, vomiting, yellowing skin and eyes
Our livers are starting to look more like lumps of lard. Part of the uptick in liver cancer diagnoses is linked to the steady rise in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) amongst Australian men. Fat deposits that build up in your liver can lead to cirrhosis. “If your liver suffers a lot of damage over time, it’s unable to repair itself in a normal way,” says hepatologist Dr Hasham El-Serag. “That’s the setup for cirrhosis and cancer.”
F#@K THE BIG C Stay far away from fructose: in a Journal of Hepatology study, people who drank a sugary beverage daily were 61 per cent more likely to develop NAFLD than those who drank none. Feed your liver what it loves: coffee. Researchers at the ANU Medical School in Canberra found that coffee’s polyphenols may suppress fat accumulation in your liver.
WARNING SIGNS A lump in your testicle, an aching feeling in your lower belly or scrotum, a change in the size or shape of your testicles
Researchers are yet to determine why testicular cancer is grabbing so many men by the balls. But a few risk factors may be at play, including changes in diet and environmental exposure to carcinogens, says oncologist Dr Phillip Gray. Another threat? Your family. Estimates show that if your dad or brother had testicular cancer, your risk of developing the disease increases as much as tenfold.
F#@K THE BIG C Since the reason for the rise is so elusive, Gray says the best prevention tactic is to catch the cancer early. (It helps that the five-year survival rate for stage one of this disease is almost 98 per cent, and remains high for stages two and three.) At least once a month, while you’re in the shower, give your boys a hand by checking for lumps or any changes in shape.
WARNING SIGNS Red or pinkish urine, lower-back pain on one side, a lasting fever not caused by infection, a bump on your side or lower back
These bean-shaped organs have the tough tasks of regulating blood pressure and turning waste in your blood into urine. How do you repay them? By packing on extra kilos. That’s a problem because weight gain causes a boost in blood pressure and throws your metabolism out of whack. Those changes, in turn, may invite inflammation that promotes the development of tumours in your kidneys, says urologist Dr Steven Campbell.
F#@K THE BIG C There are thousands of steps you can take to protect your kidneys. A study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California concluded that people who walked or ran for at least 2.5 hours a week were 61 per cent less likely to develop kidney cancer than those who moved less. And exercise, of course, will help keep both your weight and BP in check. Speaking of which, your systolic BP should stay below 120 points; recent research in the journal Hypertension found that men with higher readings were up to 87 per cent more likely to die of kidney cancer.
WARNING SIGNS A lump or swelling in the neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice or cough that won’t go away
You’re surrounded by an invisible cloud of carcinogens and radiation. First the fumes: scientists noted a surge in thyroid cancer rates that aligns with the increased use of flame retardants applied to furniture and household goods since the Seventies. When inhaled, these chemicals screw with your thyroid by mimicking endocrine hormones. This can disrupt thyroid function, explains endocrine surgeon Dr Robert Udelsman. As for radiation, the amount you’re exposed to today is double that of 25 years ago. Udelsman says that’s due to our increased use of dental x-rays and CT scans, often performed in the head and neck region.
F#@K THE BIG C You can’t torch your flame-retardant furniture, so regularly clear the air in your home by using a HEPA-filtered vacuum. Then dust with a damp towel to prevent spreading chemical-laden particles around. And speak up at the doctor’s office: if your GP ever says you need an x-ray or CT scan, ask if an MRI or ultrasound will suffice, suggests Udelsman.