Just like a car, your body needs to have routine inspections to prevent minor conditions from turning into major problems. Even if you have a serious ailment, your body does not always alert you. You can keep your body’s engine running smoothly by following the recommendations for routine screenings. These screenings cover a number of health concerns for men of all ages.
When it comes to a physical exam, blood test and urinalysis, men ages 18 to 39 should see their doctor every three years, men ages 40 to 49 every two years and every year at age 50 or older. Other routine health considerations include a dental exam, blood pressure check and flu vaccine every year, an eye exam every one to three years for men of all ages, and a screening for cholesterol every five years.
As for cancer, the signs are not always obvious. Fifty percent of all men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Lung, colorectal and prostate cancer cause the highest number of cancer-related deaths among men, and there is a simple screening for each that can lead to early detection and diagnosis, which can ultimately save your life.
Colonoscopies are crucial because they can catch colorectal cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable. Starting at age 50, men should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include being age 50 or older, having diagnoses of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and having a family history of colon polyps or a family history of colon, breast or uterine cancer.
Prostate cancer is another illness that has high survival rates when it is caught early. That is why it is so important for healthy men to receive a digital rectal exam (DRE) every year beginning at age 50. Men age 45 or older and of African-American descent or with a family history of cancer in a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) that was diagnosed before age 65, or men age 40 or older with a family history of cancer, are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. Doctors may recommend these men begin having a DRE earlier.
If you’re age 55 to 75 and have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for at least 30 years, then it is recommended that you have a lung cancer screening. It is also recommended for individuals who have smoked at least 30 packs of cigarettes per year or have quit smoking in the past 15 years.
If you have any family history of cancer or meet any of the risk factors above, talk to your physician about getting screened. Check your body’s engine today.