Be Healthy Carson City: Men: It’s time to go to the doctor!
Guys, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Aside from COVID-19 testing and vaccination, when was the last time you went to the doctor to check on your general health? If it’s been over a year, it’s time to make an appointment.
Now, during Men’s Health Month, is a great time to take back control of your health. When you make preventative health care a priority, it can save you time that you could spend dealing with a more serious health problem later. You can also get rid of the nagging fear that something is seriously wrong. Annual doctor’s visits can help you spot potential health problems, treat them by making lifestyle changes or taking medication, and make you feel good. You may even feel younger.
There are several annual screenings and tests that you should see your doctor for, including cancer screenings. Many people fell behind in cancer screening last year due to the pandemic. If you are late, you are not alone.
According to ProPublica, preventive cancer screenings fell 94% at the start of 2020. Cancer diagnoses fell by more than 50%. People didn’t stop getting cancer, according to the report, they just stopped being diagnosed.
Not going to the doctor will not keep you healthy. It can prevent you from finding illnesses earlier when they are easier to treat. Here are some health tests you should ask your doctor for:
What do you know about prostate cancer? Let’s start by clearing a common mistake. The prostate is the ping-pong-sized spongy gland inside the male reproductive system between the bladder and the penis that is needed for reproduction. Prostrate is the term for lying face down on the ground. This is what can happen to you if you do not have regular self-check for cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men around the world. Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. But that doesn’t mean it’s a disease that only affects older men. Black men and men who have a family history (a sibling or father with prostate cancer) are more than twice as likely to get prostate cancer.
Early detection is the key. It’s as easy as a routine blood test from age 50, or earlier if you’re black or have a family history. The blood test can determine the concentration of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. Talk to your doctor to see if this is right for you.
Colorectal cancer is another very common cancer that can be detected early or even prevented with regular screening. Men should start screening at age 45 using whatever method works best for them. Talk with your doctor about personal risks that may require starting screening earlier. There are a few screening tests available:
A colonoscopy may be done once every 10 years to check for cancer or precancerous polyps. During this exam, a doctor will sedate you and use an endoscope to examine your colon and remove any polyps. This can prevent cancers before they start or spread.
A fecal test, such as an FIT test, should be done once a year. It’s low risk and you can do it at home. Your doctor will prescribe a kit with instructions on how to perform the test, which requires a stool sample. Once you have finished and wrapped the sample, you send it in the mail and wait for the results.
Testicular cancer exam and skin cancer screening
Both of these tests can be performed by a doctor during a regular physical exam, and you can follow the self-checks between visits.
For testicular exams, there is a great website to help you learn to self-assess and laugh well enough at the same time. Visit www.NadAndTad.com for a series of lightweight and extremely helpful videos to hone the art of self-examination.
For skin exams, a comprehensive guide, including what to look for, is available from the Skin Cancer Foundation (https://www.skincancer.org/early-detection/self-exams/).
In addition to these cancer screenings, your next physical exam should also include:
• Blood pressure screening
• Cholesterol level test
• Diabetes test
• Glaucoma test
Here’s the deal, gentlemen: don’t let fear or occupation keep you from getting checked out or checking yourself out.