(KRON) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more men die from cancer, heart disease, injuries, stroke and diabetes than women. But they’re HALF as likely to go to the doctor for annual exams and preventive care. Health expert, Karen Owoc, has the top four silent killers of men.
Essential Screening Tests Every Man Needs
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (age 65+): If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime), you should be screened once for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
This type of aneurysm, “The Silent Killer”, is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen.
It is diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan.
Aneurysms may tear or rupture if left untreated and cause massive internal bleeding. Ruptures are very painful events and may result in permanent disability or death.
Risk factors for developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) include:
- Male, obesity, genetics
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol
- Had smoked, emphysema
2. Prostate Cancer (age 50+ or earlier depending on risk)
- Age 50 for average-risk men
- Age 45 for men at high risk – African-Americans
- Age 40 for men with a strong family history of prostate cancer
Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. About 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer. (Lung cancer is first.)
Screening involves a yearly prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) to men beginning at age 50 with at least a 10-year life expectancy.
In comparison to breast cancer in women:
- Nearly 30% more men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. (157 men per 100,000).
- Over 4% more men died from prostate cancer (25 men per 100,000).
NOTE: Government guidelines recommend AGAINST a routine PSA for prostate cancer. However, the American Cancer Society recommends discussing the limitations and potential benefits of prostate cancer early detection testing and should include the offer to test.
3. Type 2 Diabetes (age 45+ or according to risk):
- 1 in 3 Americans has diabetes and/or pre-diabetes.
- 1 in 10 Americans (9.4%) has type 2 diabetes.
- 90% with pre-diabetes don’t know they have it.
Uncontrolled diabetes, a lifestyle disease, can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness from damage to blood vessels in the eye, nerve damage, and impotence.
Starting at age 45, screen for type 2 diabetes (a blood test). Test earlier if you have any of the following risk factors as they can increase your risk of getting this disease:
- Family history of diabetes
- Race or ethnic background – Hispanics, Blacks, Native Americans, and Asians tend to be more highly affected.
- Overweight – Defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Abnormal cholesterol levels – HDL (“good”) cholesterol level is under 35 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and/or triglyceride level is over 250 mg/dL.
4. Colorectal Cancer (age 50+): Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer killer in men. Starting at age 50, your physician can decide which test is right for you (e.g., sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, CT scan, barium enema).
The Takeaway: Routine health screenings and diagnostic tests can save the lives of both men and boys. If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, call your doctor this week and make an appointment