June is Men’s Health Month – a month set aside to raise awareness of prevention, detection, and treatment of diseases that affect men and boys. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), women are 100 percent more likely to visit the doctor for annual appointments and preventative care than men, and men die at a higher rate than women from the top ten most common causes of death. “Take an active role in getting your annual physical examination and the tests and screens appropriate to your age” says John Foster, MD of Sunset Walk-In Healthcare, West Hollywood, CA.
Men should have their blood pressure tested every year after age 20.
With the aim of informing men of how they can lead healthier, longer lives, the Men’s Health Network has put together a list of tests and screenings men should undergo at different ages. In addition to yearly physical exams and additional tests based on symptoms a doctor may observe during those visits, the following preventative tests are recommended regardless of whether a man shows any signs of disease:
Sexually transmitted diseases: every year a man is sexually active with more than one partner
To detect the presence of syphilis, chlamydia, and other STD’s.
Blood pressure: every year starting at age 20
High blood pressure can have no symptoms associated with it despite being a major indication of heart disease, earning it the nickname “the silent killer.”
Blood tests and urinalysis: every three years from age 20-39, every two years from age 40-49, and every year from age 50+
These tests can identify many major illnesses well before symptoms occur.
Rectal exam: every year starting at age 20
This test identifies hemorrhoids and other rectal problems, as well as signs of colon and prostate cancers.
PSA blood test: every year starting at age 50 (or age 40 if recommended by a doctor)
This test measures the level of prostate specific antigen produced by the prostate and can be used to identify signs of prostate cancer.
Hemoccult: every year starting at age 40
This test screens stool for the microscopic presence of blood which can indicate polyps or colon cancer.
Colonoscopy: every year starting at age 50 (or age 40 if recommended by a doctor)
This examination of the rectum and colon is used to detect colorectal cancers in their early stages, as well as polyps which can progress to cancer.
Self-exams: monthly, starting at age 20
Each month, every man should examine his skin for changing moles and other signs of skin cancer and his mouth for lesions and signs of oral cancer.
Ladies, share this information with the men in your lives, and men, take charge of your health with these regular screenings.