June is Men’s Health Month — and that means it’s time to make your health and wellness a priority. Research shows that men often avoid seeking health care. In fact, nearly one-third of men report not having a primary care physician.
Need to play catch-up on some preventative tests? Here are some of the most important screenings men need to keep potential future health problems at bay. Read below and see how many you can check off your to-do list.
Please note these are general guidelines. Consult with your doctor about what is right for you.
What it is: Blood test
What the test helps to find: Elevated or high cholesterol which increases your risk of heart disease.
How often do you need it? About every 4 to 6 years in healthy adults. People with risk factors, certain medical conditions, or family history, will need to be checked yearly or more.
Blood pressure check
What is it: Checking blood pressure with a monitor or cuff
What the test helps to find: High or elevated blood pressure which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
How often do you need it? At least yearly and every time you visit the doctor.
Blood sugar test
What is it: Blood test that measures your blood sugar level.
What the test helps to find: Diabetes
How often do you need it? Usually yearly, but more or less often depending on your age, medical history, and individual risk factors.
What is it? Blood test that measures how well your thyroid is working.
What the test helps to find: Thyroid conditions, such as a thyroid that is working too hard or not enough
How often do you need it? As needed, depending on your symptoms.
What is it? Examination of the large intestine and rectum.
What does it find? Abnormalities such as irritated tissues, colon cancer, and precancerous polyps that can be removed before they turn into cancer.
How often do you need it? Screening should begin at age 45, or earlier in those with family or medical history.
Prostate cancer screening
What is it? Test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. What the test helps to find: Elevated levels of PSA that could indicate the presence of prostate cancer
How often do you need it? Most medical organizations recommend men in their 50s discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctors. The American Cancer Society offers the following general guidelines for PSA screening after a shared decision to screen is made with your doctor.
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative, such as a father or brother, diagnosed with prostate cancer younger than age 65.
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk of developing prostate cancer including those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.
What is it? Head to toe skin exam
What the test helps to find: Skin cancers that appear as bumps, spots, sores, warts, or moles with irregular shapes.
How often do you need it? You should get yearly skin checks. Visit your doctor right away if you notice any suspicious new spots or growths that have changed.
Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening
What is it? A noninvasive test that uses low-dose radiation to take detailed pictures of the chest.
What the test helps to find: Lung cancer at a curable stage
How often do you need it? You should have this screening if you’re at a higher risk of developing lung cancer and meet these criteria:
- You’re a smoker or former smoker aged 50 to 80.
- You currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years.
- You have at least a 20-pack-year smoking history. This is the number of cigarette packs smoked per day multiplied by the years you smoked.
Liver function tests
What is it? Blood test
What the test helps to find: Liver disease or damage
How often do you need it? Approximately every year as part of routine blood work at your wellness visit. More often for men with certain risk factors or medical conditions.
Summit Health can help.
If you have not had a recent checkup, make an appointment with a primary care physician today. You may feel like you only need to check in when illness strikes, but building a relationship with a primary care physician can make a significant difference in your well-being, especially as you get older. People who go to the doctor generally live longer and have fewer health problems. We look forward to seeing you soon.