Many men like to pretend they are immune to disease and injury. The reality is no one is immune to health conditions.
Getting regular preventive care is the best way to stay healthier over time. It helps catch disease during its earliest and most treatable stages meaning you have a better chance of achieving the best outcome. Here are seven preventive health screenings men should consider getting. View slideshow.
Annual physical exam
Every adult should get an annual physical exam with a primary care provider. These checkups are a great time for your physician to do a complete health intake and for you to get answers to any health-related questions. As part of your exam, your doctor will measure your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which can help determine your risk for conditions including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
For years, PSA tests have been recommended for men starting at age 55. The test measures the amount of PSA in your blood and can help detect prostate cancer. However, non-cancerous conditions may also increase the presence of PSA in the blood, making it difficult to determine the cause of a high PSA score. To determine if the test is right for you, talk to your primary care provider – together you can evaluate your risk factors and preferences and decide if it’s right for you.
Colorectal cancer is the most common cause of cancer death for men and women combined. However, regular colonoscopies can help detect the cancer when it’s in its earliest and most treatable stages by finding and removing polyps, which are potentially precancerous growths. The American Cancer Society recommends average-risk adults begin regular screenings at age 45. Provided your screening result is normal, it’s recommended you receive a colonoscopy every 10 years.
About 1 in 10 men suffer from depression or anxiety, but fewer than half of them seek treatment. Men often ignore symptoms and push aside dealing with mental health issues. Remember – just because you ignore something doesn’t mean it’s not there. Getting an annual mental health screening is an important part of overall health and something that can be done during your annual exam with a primary care provider.
Skin cancer screening
Regular skin exams – and checking your own skin frequently – can help detect skin cancer during its earliest and most treatable stages. Although there is not currently a recommendation for the frequency of getting a skin check, those who are at a higher risk for skin cancer should talk to their provider about setting up routine exams. Factors that may increase your risk include having a family history of skin cancer, a personal history of skin cancer, fair skin and exposure to sun during work and play.
Low-dose lung CT
If you’re a smoker – or have been routinely exposed to secondhand smoke – you may need a lung CT. Low-dose CT scans are a type of x-ray that takes pictures of your lungs. Your doctor may recommend one if you’re between the ages of 50 and 80 with a history of heavy smoking or if you smoke or quit smoking within the past 15 years.
If you are healthy and without vision problems, the current recommendation is to get an eye exam at age 40. That’s because this is the age eye issues and vision problems often begin to develop. Based on the results of your exam, your doctor will recommend how often you need to be seen. Men who are age 60 and older should be seen for an eye exam every one to two years.