Men’s Health Month is celebrated throughout the United States with health screenings, health fairs, and other health education and outreach activities. Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year as the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to bring attention to preventable health problems for men and encourage early detection of diseases.
Most men do not pay attention to their health and put off regular checkups to their doctor. There are health conditions that affect many men, such as prostate cancer, colon cancer, and heart disease. They can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis.
Men typically die at a higher-rates than women. Years ago, women lived on average, one year longer than men. Today, men die almost five years earlier than women.
Prostate cancer is the leading cancer among men in the United States. Over 170,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. About 30,000 men die of prostate cancer each year. Some men are at higher risk than others. African-American men are 2 times more likely to die from prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that men with a brother, father, or son who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer are 2-to 3-times more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Men and Colon Cancer
Colon cancer, which is also called colorectal cancer, is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men in the United States. The risk of developing colon cancer is about 4.49 percent. The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screening beginning at age 45. Symptoms can include changes in bowel habits, cramps and bloating, feeling as though the bowels are not empty, blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.
Heart Disease in Men
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. Half of the men who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms. Many men are at high risk of developing heart disease. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.
Men’s Health Checklist
Regular checkups and screenings can improve your health and reduce premature death. You should consult your doctor to discuss health screenings that are appropriate for you. You may need an early screening if you have a family history of a certain disease.
Physical Exam: review overall health status, perform a thorough physical exam and discuss health-related topics.
Blood Pressure: high blood pressure (hypertension) has no symptoms but can cause permanent damage to body organs.
Blood Tests & Urinalysis: screens for various illnesses and diseases (such as cholesterol, diabetes, kidney or thyroid dysfunction) before symptoms occur.
EKG: electrocardiogram screens for heart abnormalities.
Rectal Exam: screens for hemorrhoids, lower rectal problems, colon, and prostate cancer.
PSA Blood Test: prostate specific antigen is produced by the prostate. Levels rise when there is an abnormality such as an infection, enlargement or cancer. Testing should be done in collaboration with your healthcare provider.
Hemoccult: screens the stool for microscopic amounts of blood that can be the first indication of polyps or colon cancer.
Colorectal Health: a flexible scope examines the rectum, sigmoid and descending colon for cancer at its earliest and treatable stages. It also detects polyps, which are benign growths that can progress to cancer if not found early.
Chest X-ray: should be considered in smokers over the age of 45. The usefulness of this test on a yearly basis is debatable due to poor cure rates of lung cancer.
Testicle: to find lumps in their earliest stages.
Skin: to look for signs of changing moles, freckles, or early skin cancer.
Oral: to look for signs of cancerous lesions in the mouth.
Breast: to find abnormal lumps in their earliest stages.
Bone Health: bone mineral density test. Testing is best done under the supervision of your healthcare provider.
Testosterone Screening: low testosterone symptoms include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and depression. Initial screening for symptoms with a questionnaire followed by a simple blood test.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): sexually active adults who consider themselves at risk for STDs should be screened for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and other STDs.
Be proactive and make an appointment today for your annual checkup! Several health conditions can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. Call 708-352-0330 to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.