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UPMC Doctor: Important Screenings to Remember: This Men’s Health Month

We celebrate dads during the month of June for Father’s Day, but did you know that it’s also the month dedicated to men’s health awareness? Beyond just fathers, all men should take this opportunity to reflect on their health and wellness. An easy first step is to help get them started with an idea of what screenings to keep in mind per their stage in life. Being proactive in the maintenance of health will help keep your loved ones around with a high quality of life.

Any Age

Before delving into each stage and screenings to expect, it’s important to keep lifestyle factors and family history in mind. Things like diet, activity level, medical history, plus alcohol and tobacco intake can affect your physician’s suggestions on when to expect certain examinations down the line. Your family history is especially important, as it may mean that these examinations should occur earlier for you personally compared to the average male. For example, if your father has a history of colon cancer, you may start colorectal screenings at the age of 35 instead of the usual 45.

At any age, your mental wellbeing should be at the forefront of your health concerns. Keep in mind that if you’re experiencing any symptoms of anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues, it is important to seek professional help sooner rather than later.

20s and 30s

Annual Physical Exams – Get in the habit of seeing your primary care physician at least once a year early. As they get to know you, they will understand your concerns and be proactive in helping alleviate them. Your doctor will check your vital signs, discuss immunizations, listen to your heart and lungs, and examine your head, neck, and abdomen for any abnormalities. It is typically suggested that men schedule an annual vision exam, as well as a dental exams every six months.

Skin Cancer Screening – Skin cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers for those in their mid-to-late thirties and incidences of melanoma continue to increase rapidly with age. While your primary care physician is qualified to check your skin during an annual appointment, it may be suggested to additionally meet with a dermatologist for a full-body examination.

40s and 50s

Colorectal Screening – When you turn 45, it is suggested that regularly scheduled colonoscopies or stool tests for those who don’t tolerate or refuse colonoscopies (as long as there’s no immediate family with a history of colon cancer) become part of your health repertoire. Cases of colon cancer have been on the rise and starting these screenings younger helps to prevent or catch the cancer at its earliest stages, when it is most curable.

Prostate Cancer Screening – In your forties, it’s important to begin the conversation with your doctor about when to start prostate exams. This would likely just be a blood test every one to two years unless there’s a specific indication or other symptoms. According to certain risk factors, you might start these at age 45, but those of average risk may begin the screenings at age 50.

Immunizations – You should be receiving annual immunizations like the flu shot, but now, it’s time to consider other preventative measures as you get older. At 50, a shingles vaccine may be suggested even if you’ve had shingles infection before. Pneumococcal/pneumonia vaccines may be suggested starting at age 65 for adults of average health and possibly earlier if certain risk factors are present. Other immunizations to keep in mind are the RSV vaccine and continued doses of the tetanus shot.
60s and Beyond

Hearing Exam – Over time, it’s common for men to experience loss of hearing, especially if you’ve been surrounded by loud noises throughout your life at work. It’s important to have hearing tests done so that you don’t have trouble conversing with family and friends. This will help you feel generally more connected and less isolated.

Bone Density Test – Men over 70 should consider a screening to test bone density, especially if there are risk factors present.

No matter what or when, your primary care physician will always be willing to discuss your health concerns and help set you on a tailored path for the best well-being possible.

by Marcus Powers, M.D.
Family Medicine, UPMC

Marcus Powers, M.D., sees patients at UPMC Family Medicine, 610 High St., Lock Haven. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Powers, call 570-748-1250. For more information, visit