When it comes to regular checkups, men have a not-so-great track record. A survey of more than 2,000 men revealed that 55% of all men have not seen their primary care physician for a physical exam in the past year.
That attitude in part may explain why the average life expectancy is nearly 5 years less than women. Not getting screening tests is another part of the problem. The second leading cause of death for men is cancer – in particular, skin cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal (colon) cancer.
4 Screening Tests That Every Man Should Have:
Skin cancer is the most common cancer among men over age 50. Melanoma is the deadliest form of cancer (1 in 41 men – in particular white men over 50 – will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime). Performing monthly skin self-exams and visiting a dermatologist yearly will go a long way toward detecting melanoma early.
To protect your skin from the sun, use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. In addition, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and for extended outdoor activity use a water-resistant (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Men at high risk of developing lung cancer include smokers and individuals who have been exposed to occupational toxins.
Screening tests for lung cancer include chest X-rays; sputum cytology (looking for cancer cells in mucus with a microscope); lung biopsies; and spiral (helical) CT scans of the lungs. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine if testing is necessary.
Experts recommend that men at age 40 and older talk to their doctors about a prostate cancer testing. African-American men and men with a family member – father or brother – diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65 are at increased risk of developing the disease.
Prostate enlargement is a common part of aging. A digital rectal examination (DRE) is usually the first test done. In addition, your doctor may recommend a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. A high PSA reading could be an indication of some kind of prostate condition, including cancer.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
Colon cancer is largely preventable through screening. Screening is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50 and every five to 10 years after.
Screening test for colorectal cancer can find precancerous polyps. They can be removed before they become cancer. People with a family or personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or certain genetic syndromes should talk to their doctors about screening earlier or more often than others.
Learn more about preventive services that Baptist Health offers every day by finding a Baptist Health primary care physician near you.