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June Is Men's Health Month

Our parents spend so much of their time taking care of us, it’s easy to forget that they need to take care of themselves. June is men’s health month and along with the hugs and cards and special dinners to celebrate Father’s Day, be sure to remind Dad that the best way to care for his family is to take care of himself too. Then give him an extra hug.

Keep your health in check with these essential screenings

Guys, as we take on more responsibilities in our lives, whether it be career or family, there seems to be less room on our plates to make us the priority. While it’s difficult, and maybe even uncomfortable, it’s important to prioritize our health. Below are some essential screenings for you to ask about at your next doctor’s visit.

  1. Prostate Cancer
    • Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in American Men. Screening tests can find the cancer early, often before patients experience any symptoms. There are two types of screening for healthy men:
    1. Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
    2. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test.
    • You should speak with your healthcare professional about the risks and benefits of these tests. If you have a family history of prostate cancer you should ask your doctor about screenings starting at age 40.
  2. Testicular Cancer
    • The majority of testicular cancer cases are found in men between 20 and 54 years old.
    • All men should have a testicular exam during their regular physical but those with a higher risk should ask a healthcare professional about further screenings.
    • To perform a self-exam gently check for changes in the size or shape of the testes. Also, feel for any irregularities such as hard lumps or smooth bumps.
  3. Colorectal Cancer
    • Men should begin screenings at 50 years old unless they are considered to be of high risk.
    • Most colon cancers grow slowly on the inner surface of the colon as polyps. The way to prevent the spread of colon cancer to other areas of the body is by detecting the polyps early and removing them.
    • The common test for detecting colon cancer is a colonoscopy, which allows the doctor to view the entire colon via a camera attached to a flexible tube. A sigmoidoscopy is similar procedure, however the doctor only examines the lower part of the colon.
  4. Skin Cancer
    • Skin cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States.
    • Regular self-exams are recommended to check for changes in the color, shape and size of any marks on your skin.
    • Skin exams by a dermatologist should also be part of your regular check-up schedule.
  5. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
    • Men should be tested for high blood pressure regularly and discuss risk factors and treatment with their healthcare professional.
    • Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
  6. Cholesterol Levels
    • A fasting blood lipid panel test will determine your cholesterol levels.
    • At age 35, men should have their cholesterol levels tested regularly.
    • Men should have their cholesterol tested starting at 20 if they have an increased risk heart disease.
  7. Diabetes
    • Type 2 Diabetes tests can include a fasting blood sugar test, glucose tolerance test or an A1C test.
    • Starting at 45 years old, you should be tested every three years. If you are at a high risk for Type 2 Diabetes you should speak to your healthcare professional about being tested sooner and more often.
  8. Glaucoma
    • Glaucoma screenings look for abnormally high pressure within the eye to help prevent damage to the optic nerve.
    • Screenings for glaucoma are dictated by age and a person’s risk. Speak with a healthcare professional to determine when and how often you should be screened if you are in a higher risk group.
    • Starting at 40 years old you should get screened every 2-4 years.

Each of us has different needs and concerns, but making an appointment and starting the conversation with a healthcare professional is the first step. While it may be daunting or even embarrassing to ask about these screenings, in most cases early detection can go a long way towards preventing a more serious situation. Health Mart is here to help you understand your medical treatment.

Sources:

  1. WebMD: "Essential Screening Tests Every Man Needs" Available at: www.webmd.com/men/ss/slideshow-screening-tests-men. Accessed 4/19/16.