by Black B

IMAGE Are you reluctant to see doctors when you are sick? You may need even more push to see them when you feel well. But, it is important to get health screenings. Regular screenings can provide information to help prevent serious health problems. Certain diseases can be found before symptoms develop. This can often reduce the risk of serious illness and even death. Here are some common exams and tests for men.

Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer

Colon cancer screens are advised at age 50 for men of average risk. This may include 1 of the following:

If you are unwilling or unable to have the above tests, there is another option. You can have yearly stool tests. These tests detect blood that cannot be seen by looking (called occult blood).

Men at high risk for colorectal cancer may need screening more often. High risk includes:

  • Personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • Strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Family history of a colorectal cancer syndrome
  • Personal history of Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis

If you are unsure about your risk, talk to your doctor. The doctor will advise how often you should have colorectal screening.

Prostate Cancer

During a routine exam, the doctor may do a rectal exam. The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum. This is done to detect prostate enlargement or anything that could be cancer. The exam takes approximately 30 to 60 seconds.

Doctors often do not agree about the use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA tests can be used as a screening tool for prostate cancer. However, the test comes with some possible risks. For example, a person may have to undergo unnecessary surgery. PSA tests can be elevated in benign prostatic hypertrophy. This is a very common condition in men as they age.

It is best to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of screening.

Skin Cancer

A skin exam looks at moles or other marks on the skin. The goal is to check for cancer or precancer. A skin exam takes 5 minutes and is painless. The doctor looks at your skin from head-to-toe, including the scalp. Your doctor may choose to biopsy (take and test a sample from) any suspicious lesions. The doctor can advise how often you should be screened for skin cancer. This will be based on your risk and personal history.

Testicular Cancer

To check for this cancer, the doctor may examine your testicles during regular exams. Talk to your doctor about screening, self-exams, and risk factors for testicular cancer.

Heart Disease Screening

Blood Pressure Screening

Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. High blood pressure can go undetected and untreated for a long time. This raises the risk of :

Talk with your doctor about how often you should have your blood pressure checked. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to check it more often. Your doctor may advise you to check it at home.

Cholesterol Screening

Cholesterol screening involves a simple blood test. It measures different types of cholesterol. They include total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL. Your doctor may also check your triglycerides. This is another fatty substance in the blood. High levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and low levels of HDL cholesterol increase your risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that may lead to coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and other serious blood vessel problems.

Ask your doctor when you should have your cholesterol checked.

Diabetes Screening

Diabetes screening often depends on your age and risks. You should also be screened at any age if you are overweight or obese or have other risk factors for diabetes.

There are different blood tests to check for diabetes. All can be done at an office visit. But some require you to not eat for a certain number of hours before the test.

Infectious Disease Screening

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people aged 13 to 64 years old get screened for HIV infection. If you are at high risk for having HIV, you should be screened every year.

Dental Screening

Dental Exam

A dental exam is advised 1 to 2 times per year. This exam checks for cavities or problems of the gums, tongue, and mouth. A full set of x-rays should also be taken from time to time. This helps the dentist find possible problems.

Vision Screening

Eye Exam

An eye exam is advised every 2 years for adults 18 to 60 years old. Older adults should have yearly eye exams. Your eyes should be checked more often if you:

  • Wear contact lenses
  • Take medicines that can affect the eye
  • Have diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Have a family history of eye disease

Talk to your doctor if you have any eyesight changes.

Screening for Life-long Good Health

Some of these tests can be embarrassing or uncomfortable. But it is important to have them. They can help prevent common and serious diseases. If heart disease, cancer, or other major illnesses run in your family, these tests are even more important.

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society  http://www.cancer.org 

National Cancer Institute  http://www.cancer.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cancer Society  http://www.cancer.ca 

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada  http://www.heartandstroke.ca 

References

Can testicular cancer be found early? American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Colorectal cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/colorectal-cancer-screening. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Final recommendation statement: prostate cancer screening, May 2012. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/prostate-cancer-screening. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hypercholesterolemia. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hypertension. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Latest tips and prevention. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention-list. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Prostate cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/prostate-cancer-screening. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Qaseem A, Crandall CJ, et al. Screening for colorectal cancer in asymptomatic average-risk adults: a guidance statement from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2019;171(9):643-654.

See the full picture of your health with an annual comprehensive eye exam. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/caring-for-your-eyes/full-picture-of-eye-health?sso=y&sso=y. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Skin cancer screening. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/skin-screening-pdq#section/all. Accessed April 15, 2022.

Testicular cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/testicular-cancer Accessed April 15, 2022.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board
  • Update Date: 04/15/2022