Routine Tests for Men
A schedule for checkups and tests that will keep a man's body in good running order.
At Six Months
In addition to brushing and flossing, visit
the dentist every six months for a cleaning and complete checkup.
You don't have to worry about your car catching something in a crowded
parking lot. People, however, are prone to infectious diseases like influenza.
Every year 5%-20% of the U.S. population comes down with the flu. The
composition of the flu vaccine changes each year, so being vaccinated once is
not enough. Get your shot in the fall, before the flu season peaks.
The specter of bird flu has been frightening people lately but don't take
typical influenza too lightly. "People get extremely sick," Kellerman
says. "I've had patients, even younger patients, die of influenza."
- Check blood pressure.
Keeping your blood pressure in the normal range is at least as important as
keeping the correct air pressure in your tires. "Everybody ought to know
their blood pressure," Kellerman says. Men over age 50 or those who have a
family history of high blood pressure should have it checked at least every
- Colon cancer screening
Most routine colon cancer screening begins at the age of 50. On a yearly
basis, doctors may provide special take-home tests to check for hidden blood in
- Prostate cancer screening
At the age of 50 most men may start screening for prostate cancer every
year. Screening may begin at a younger age for those with higher risk, such as
being African-American or having a family history of prostate cancer.
The two types of tests are prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, and the
digital rectal exam.
Screening can catch prostate cancer early, but studies on whether early
detection saves lives have shown mixed results. "The downside is that we
may find a false positive," Kellerman says. That could mean having surgery
that you don't actually need. "Sit down with your physician and discuss
it," Kellerman says.
- Full physical exam
A routine yearly physical is a good time to touch base with your primary
care provider about your health and preventive screening. It is also the time
to give updates on your medical history and receive a thorough all-over
At 5 Years
For many men aged 20 and up, having a cholesterol test every five years is
sufficient. If your cholesterol is found to be borderline or if you have heart
disease or certain other medical conditions, then you would need to have it
monitored more frequently.
- Have a sigmoidoscopy.
A sigmoidoscopy test may be done every five years. This is an option for
colon cancer screening in conjunction with the stool tests that are done
This test looks for cancer and polyps in the lower part of the colon that
could turn cancerous. A suspect polyp or cancer may be biopsied, and a
colonoscopy would be done to further evaluate the entire colon.