JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The month of June is dedicated to men’s health and doctors hope you can deliver this message: Screenings are very important – especially as a man gets older.
“We do recommend that everybody start screening at age 50,” said Dr. Donald Ford, a family physician with Cleveland Clinic.
Ford says by 50 years old men should be talking to their doctor about getting tested for colon cancer and prostate cancer. The same goes for lung cancer – if they have a history of smoking or if there’s another reason to be suspicious. Doctors are also on the lookout for skin cancer and heart disease.
“The number one killer of men in this country is heart disease, so all of the factors that contribute to heart disease which include cholesterol and blood pressure, presence of diabetes, these are all important,” said Ford. “So, these are things that we do look for and screen on a regular basis, typically at an annual exam.”
According to the American Heart Association, roughly 80 percent of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, are preventable. Ford says lifestyle plays a big role in that.
“Having a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating well. There’s not a particular diet that is recommended. There’s no one size fits all in terms of eating habits, but there are some principles we do recommend in general. Staying away from fatty foods, junk food and particularly sugar,” Ford explained.
He points out, just because someone may feel fine, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem – which is why annual exams are so important.
“A lot of these illnesses are asymptomatic until later, and so we really hope that people aren’t just waiting until they’re sick to come see the doctor,” said Ford. “We try to make a warm and inviting place where people are safe, where we can talk about these issues and allow them to make informed decisions about what testing and screening is right for them.”
Ford says it’s also important for men to know their family history. It can be extremely helpful when it comes to testing for certain diseases.
Do you have a men’s health question you want answered?
We want to help get your men’s health questions answered. So, if there’s something you’ve been too embarrassed to ask a doctor or a question that’s been bothering your father, husband or son, Jacksonville Urologist Dr. Ali Kasraeian will answer it. Ask your question below.