A Key to Men’s Health: Get Screened!Last updated: Jun 06, 2016
June is Men’s Health Month, and it’s a good time to gather more information about some of the specific needs of men and review guidelines for having a longer and healthier life.
Screenings for are a proactive approach to staying healthy. Preventative health is important for everyone, but for men—who have a shorter life expectancy than women—there are key screenings that will help them beat the odds of developing the health issues that are the leading causes of death for men in this country. Screenings not only identify current health problems but they also assess risks of future medical problems and enable your physician to establish a baseline record of so that changes can be identified quickly. According to the National Institutes of Health, men between the ages of 40 to 64 should get checkups every year that include but are not limited to screenings. Some key screenings include but are not limited to:
- Heart disease
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
The number and frequency of screenings should be discussed with your physician, but here are some general recommendations.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and is responsible for one in every four male deaths. This is true across ethnic and racial groups. Half of all men who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms, so screening plays a big role in prevention. Two of the most widely used cardiac screenings measure blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing outwards on the walls of arteries. Have your blood pressure checked every year. If the top number is greater than 140 or the bottom number is greater than 90, your blood pressure is high and your physician might recommend lifestyle changes or medication.
- A cholesterol test measures four types of fats in your blood. Fats can cause inflammation that upsets the lining of blood vessels. Sudden blockages cause heart attacks and strokes.” The fat that is detrimental is low-density lipoprotein, which is commonly called “bad cholesterol,” and a high level raises the possibility of a heart attack, stroke, or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). If you are 35 and over, try to get screened every five years. As you age, the frequency of cholesterol screenings should increase until they area part of your annual visit for ages 55 or above. 1
“Some cardiovascular disease can be both preventable and reversible with the right lifestyle and medication.” says Dr. William A. Tansey, III, an expert in cardiovascular disease at Summit Medical Group. “Baseline screenings are essential to heart health.”
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in American men, according to the American Cancer Society. Experts recommend that men over the age of 50 have regular screenings with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This evaluation measures the level of a protein produced by prostate cells, and a high level can be an indication of prostate cancer. 2
- Men with a family history of prostate cancer, men age 50 and older (age 45 and older for African American men) should be screened every year.
- Men ages 55 to 69 without a family history of prostate cancer can be screened about every two years. Statistically, this group receives the greatest benefit from screenings because PSA tests has been proven to detect cancer and lower mortality the most among men of this age. 3
“The treatments for prostate cancer are so advanced now that we can avoid a lot of the negative side effects, including sexual dysfunction. A PSA test is a simple screening that can truly save lives,” says Dr. Michael Volpe, a urologist at Summit Medical group and expert on men’s reproductive and sexual health. “
An estimated five million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than there are cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon combined. Unfortunately, the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise. Fortunately, most of these skin cancers are treatable. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is the least common, but most dangerous type of skin cancer. If caught early it can be surgically removed. However, if it becomes invasive, it can spread to other parts of the body. In 2016, there will be an estimated 76,000 new cases of melanoma with 10,000 deaths from melanoma in the United States. 4
- Males age 15-39 are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.
- The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men ages 55 and over. One in 33 men will develop melanoma in their lifetime 5
“There is a skin cancer epidemic in the United States,” says Hari Nadiminti, MD, a board- certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon at Summit Medical Group. “Early skin cancer detection is vital. When caught early, most skin cancers are treatable. It is important to see a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening for any suspicious or changing moles.”
Screenings are life savers. The board-certified physicians at Summit Medical Group can help you stay on track with the screenings you need.
1. Disease Control, Prevention Centers for. "Cholesterol Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 25 May 2016.
2. American, Association Urinary. "New Clinical Guidelines of Prostate Cancer Screening.” American Urinary Association, 3 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 May 2015.
4. Skin, Foundation Cancer. "Skin Cancer Foundation." Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics. Skin Cancer Foundation, 5 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 May 2016.