There are many things not all of us know offhand: the ideal time to boil an egg; the diameter of Earth; how many licks it takes to hit the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. 

For men, the timing for specific health screenings may be among those unknowns. While conducting a 2019 Cleveland Clinic study, Eric Klein, MD, chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute found that only 40% of men visit the doctor regularly, which may be the reason why most men may know less than they should about preventative health.

We are dedicating space to inform men (and the concerned women in their lives) about some important preventative health practices that can contribute to men’s thriving longevity. 

Screening Basics:

While women are often encouraged at the start of puberty to participate in self-exams and annual appointments in order to prevent breast and cervical cancer, for men the specifics of crucial check-ups may be less clear. 

Here are some recommended guidelines to follow:

  • For cholesterol monitoring, adults as young as 20 should begin getting lipid panel testing, and continue this testing at least every four to six years. 
  • Blood pressure should be checked every two years for men ages 18 to 39, increasing to yearly if levels reach a higher threshold.
  • Diabetes screening is recommended every three years for adults 40 – 70 years old, starting sooner and with more frequency, depending on BMI and weight. 
  • Every five to ten years, between the ages of 50 to 75, men with no previous history of colon cancer or polyps should be screened for colorectal cancer. The frequency of testing may increase depending on medical history. 
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, second to skin cancer. When diagnosed early, the 5-year survival rate of prostate cancer is nearly 100%. Talking to a doctor about the pros and cons of this screening will help determine when it may be right for each individual.
  • When identified early, and therefore given proper treatment, testicular cancer is highly curable. One of the best methods for early detection is a self-exam, but the American Cancer Society also says that “Most doctors agree that examining a man’s testicles should be part of a general physical exam during a routine check-up.”

The sum of all the above check-ins can contribute to a longer — and healthier — life for men. 

Why Prevention Matters

In short, according to a 2016 article in the Journal of Health Economics, it’s more valuable to prevent a disease than to treat it. And it’s also proven to save lives

Having prevention conversations now may lead to steps (momentarily uncomfortable as they may be) that could require less distress than treating something serious later on.

First Steps

If it’s been a while since your last physical, go ahead and make a new appointment. This will allow you and your doctor to check in on all your vitals, assess your risk for any significant health conditions, discuss your exercise and nutrition habits, and set a new baseline for going forward. If you’re over 40, it will also give you and your health provider the opportunity to discuss whether prostate cancer screening may be right for you. 

As Dr Klein asserts, “Knowing the facts, being proactive, and taking advantage of the numerous advancements in healthcare today can make all the difference in a man’s quality of – and length of – life.” 

At Cardinal Points Imaging, we know that imaging plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of many health issues and is also a crucial part of screening for early detection of health conditions. Learn more about our services online, or call for an appointment at (919) 877-5400.