The 4 regular health screenings men should have

Do you know a man who is reluctant to go to the doctor for a routine checkup?

Maybe you are that man who avoids seeking medical treatment unless it’s an emergency.

Many studies show that men are less likely than women to seek help for medical problems – including physical and emotional health issues. It could be because they are afraid to seem weak, or because they want to stay independent and in control.

But this means men may be missing opportunities to deal with minor health issues before they become major problems. Routine checkups and screenings are necessary for staying healthy.

The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force encourages men to have the following regular health screenings.

High cholesterol. Beginning at age 35, men should get their cholesterol checked at a minimum of every five years. Men younger than age 35 could benefit from cholesterol testing if they smoke, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or have a family history of heart disease.

High blood pressure. All men should get their blood pressure checked at least every two years, or more often if recommended by a healthcare provider.

Both high cholesterol and high blood pressure are silent diseases, meaning symptoms may not always be obvious.

Diabetes. Men should schedule a blood glucose test for diabetes if they have raised cholesterol or high blood pressure. They should also have this test if they notice signs of diabetes, such as frequent thirst and urination, extreme tiredness and blurred vision. Healthy men should get screened every three years starting at age 45.

Colorectal cancer. Screenings should begin at age 50, or earlier if there is a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or a family history of colorectal cancer.

Cancer screenings

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The American Cancer Society also recommends the following screenings for men:

Prostate cancer. Starting at age 50, men should talk to their doctor about prostate cancer testing. Men at high risk, including African-American men and those with a family history of the disease, should talk to their doctor at age 40 or 45.

Lung cancer. Men ages 55 to 74 who are or were heavy smokers should talk to a doctor about whether a low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer is right for them.

Skin cancer. Men should keep an eye on all moles and spots on their skin, and report changes to a doctor immediately.

You should speak with your healthcare provider about the right method of screening for you.

By Tim Romanoski, MD, a physician at AAMG Centreville Family Medicine. To reach him, call 410-758-3303.
Originally published June 13, 2017. Last updated June 16, 2020.

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