June is National Men’s Health Month. The month is all about encouraging the men in your life (including you, men out there) to take care of their bodies by eating right, exercising, and working to prevent disease. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases including cancer. According to the CDC, 13.2% of men aged 18 and over are in fair or poor health. During Men’s Health Month, men are urged to take steps to enrich their health and wellness through proper screenings and care.
Here are five recommendations for men to help them stay on top of their game.
Stay updated on your vaccinations.
Lower your stress. Stress itself is linked to higher blood pressure and body weight, so it’s important to take time to focus on activities that will help relieve stress.
Watch your risky behaviors. Limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking are almost routinely advised by your doctor, as they can result in liver disease, cirrhosis, and alcohol dependence. Smoking contributes to a wide variety of cancers and is one factor that is the most changeable.
Watch what you eat.
Do your screenings. Screenings for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver issues, anemia, cholesterol, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) (screening for prostate cancer) blood test may be a part of the routine bloodwork.
The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if not related, and to find them early before they spread. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. As a rule, the higher level in the blood, the more likely a prostate problem is present. But many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Because many factors can affect PSA levels, your doctor is the best person to interpret your PSA test results. If the PSA test is abnormal, your doctor may recommend a biopsy to find out if you have prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends men make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The discussion about screening should take place at:
• Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
• Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer, men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger that 65).
• Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
If your doctor recommends a PSA blood test, call your local Health Department to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.