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Preventive Health Screenings Men Need

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My father is currently fighting his second cancer battle in a year. By pure luck, health screenings detected both. If they hadn’t, he would not be here right now.

I know men do not like going to the doctor. That is a selfish stance, though. Think about your spouse, children and other family. How would they handle it if you passed away from a very preventable health issue? I’ll tell you: guilty and inconsolable. YOU can stop that from happening by getting some simple (and insurance covered) early detection screenings.

First off, the dreaded colonoscopy. Granted the whole preparation part is awful, but look at the alternative! Colon cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the US. If chugging a gross liquid and flushing out your colon is the worst part of the test, I think it is by far the lesser of two evils. Suck it up and make the appointment.

For smokers: quit. period. If I can do it cold turkey, then you can too. Next, between  6 months to a year after you quit, get a chest x-ray. This will detect any spots in your lungs. Also get tested for COPD. You should go to a pulmonologist for all of this work.

Men 50 and older should get tested for a “AAA” or abdominal aortic aneurism. This is a sneaky weakening of your aortic wall that is highly dangerous. Many times there are no warning signs. There are several risk factors, including family history. It is a simple ultrasound.

Prostate cancer screening. I can hear you now, “oh joy!”. Sorry. This, like the colonoscopy is a must and very simple. They do the quick physical exam and then screen your blood for the PSA level. Done!

Osteoporosis. No, this is not exclusive to women. Men, and a large amount, get this bone weakening condition. Again, family history is important. A dexascan will tell if you are in jeopardy of getting this.

Skin cancer. As we age, skin cancers tend to show themselves more. It is always smart, especially if you spent a great amount of time in the sun to ask for this test.

Finally, if you have any disease or condition that is littered throughout your family history, ask to be tested for that as well. You’d be surprised what you can catch early. As always. consult with your doctor about any other screenings he/she feels you should have.

Here’s hoping your family is spared the stress and angst of what my family is going through.

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