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Routine Health Maintenance for Men

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6. Learn About Prostate Cancer Screening continued...

The American Cancer Society says men, starting at age 50,  should talk to their doctors about the benefits, risks, and limitations of prostate cancer screening before deciding whether to be tested. The group's guidelines make it clear that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood testing should not occur unless this discussion happens.

The American Urological Association recommends that men ages 55 to 69 who are considering screening should talk with their doctors about the risks and benefits of testing and proceed based on their personal values and preferences. The group also adds:

  • PSA screening in men under age 40 years is not recommended.
  • Routine screening in men between ages 40 to 54 years at average risk is not recommended.
  • To reduce the harms of screening, a routine screening interval of two years or more may be preferred over annual screening in those men who have decided on screening after a discussion with their doctor. As compared to annual screening, it is expected that screening intervals of two years preserve the majority of the benefits and reduce over diagnosis and false positives.
  • Routine PSA screening is not recommended in men over age 70 or any man with less than a 10-15 year life expectancy.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, however, doesn't recommend routine PSA screening for men in the general population, regardless of age. They say the tests may find cancers that are so slow-growing that medical treatments -- which can have serious side effects -- would offer no benefit. 

7. Get a Flu Shot

Influenza is still one of the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S. The flu doesn't usually cause major problems in men who are otherwise healthy. But for men who are elderly or who have other health conditions, influenza can be life-threatening.

No matter how healthy you are, the flu can lay you out for days, causing misery and missed work. You also might pass it on to someone more vulnerable than you. The flu shot isn't a guarantee you won't get the flu, but it slashes your chances by 50% to 90%.

The CDC recommends that people over 50 or those who have chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes, or lung disease get the flu shot every year.

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