June is Men’s Health Month – what better time to draw attention to men’s unique risks for certain conditions, and encourage men to stay on top of their health.
Leading Health Concerns for Men
While many of the top health threats for men and women are similar, men hold certain unique risks like prostate cancer. Consider the following facts about common health issues for men:
- Heart disease is responsible for about 1 in every 4 deaths in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1
- A higher percentage of men (50%) have high blood pressure – a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke – than women (44%).2
- Even if you have no heart disease symptoms, you may still be at risk.1
- Men are more likely to get cancer than women, according to the CDC.3
- Cancers that most often affect men include: prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer.4
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that most prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.4
- In addition to being a leading cause of death, stroke is a top cause of long-term disability. The CDC reports that men under the age of 44 are hospitalized for ischemic stroke more often than women of the same age group.5
It’s important to note that COVID-19 continues to be a health concern for both men and women, ranking as the third overall cause of death in the U.S. in 2021, according to the CDC.6
Prioritize Preventive Care
Did you know men are more likely to put off regular checkups and medical care?7 If you’re prone to only seeking medical care when you’re sick, it may be time to discuss the benefits of routine check-ups with your healthcare provider. Regular check-ups can assess your risk for many of the above conditions and typically include physical exams, vaccination information, and perhaps most importantly, preventive screenings.
Understanding Screening Tests
Screening tests allow healthcare providers to check for conditions and diseases before there are signs or symptoms. When diseases are diagnosed in early stages, they are often easier to manage and treat. Depending on your age and medical history, your healthcare provider may recommend screening for: 8
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Mental health conditions
- Prostate cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
Screening tests can have benefits and risks, so be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider; they can also be performed in different ways. For example: colorectal cancer screening may be performed by collecting a stool sample, whereas prostate cancer is initially screened through a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA screening may help reduce the chance of death from prostate cancer for some men 55 to 69 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).8
As a leading cause of cancer death among men, understanding your prostate health can be essential to your overall health. While a PSA test is an effective initial screening test for prostate cancer, the test result can be abnormal due to a variety of non-cancerous conditions as well as in prostate cancer, and does not distinguish between aggressive and less serious cancer forms. Because of this, many men undergo invasive procedures like a prostate biopsy that could be avoided.
The 4Kscore® Test – Assessing Your Probability of Aggressive Prostate Cancer
When discussing your prostate cancer risk with your healthcare provider, ask about The 4Kscore® Test – a follow-up blood test that can be performed after an abnormal PSA result and/or digital rectal exam (DRE). Approved by the U.S. Drug and Food Administration (FDA), The 4Kscore® Test assesses the probability of finding aggressive prostate cancer if a biopsy were performed.
Take Charge of Your Health for Men’s Health Month
In addition to delaying routine healthcare, men are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and make unhealthy or risky choices. But it’s never too late to build healthier habits. Beyond omitting tobacco and drinking in moderation – exercising regularly and eating healthy can help control blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight, lowering the risk for many serious conditions.7 If you’re due a check-up, take charge of your health by seeking guidance from your healthcare provider about what preventive care and which screening tests are medically appropriate for you.