Dr. Eric Darby, urologist at TPMG Urology, Newport News, suggests men receive the following exams:
Testicular Exam – “Testicular cancer starts out painless. If you feel something and it doesn’t hurt, don’t ignore it.” Better yet, start a self-check each month in your late teens (in addition to yearly medical exam) to check for any changes or lumps that may indicate signs of cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening – Especially important for African-American men or those with a family history of prostate cancer (or other risk factor), men should be checked yearly from their 50s to their 80s. High risk candidates should start yearly screenings in their 40s. When it comes to checking for precancerous or cancerous conditions, Darby emphasizes the importance of a rectal exam: “It only takes 30 seconds. A blood test alone is not sufficient.”
Routine Screenings – Routine screenings include an assessment of blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol, height and weight help monitor heart health and stroke risks. While you should get them yearly from young adulthood, an annual physical becomes particularly important to men’s health starting in the 40s.
Dr. Darby warns that “Men feel if they aren’t in pain they don’t need a doctor. Regular exams reveal conditions before they become grave.”
Colonoscopy – “A rectal exam for prostate is not the same as a colonoscopy. You need the full exam.” A colonoscopy is considered the best method to determine colon health and signs of cancer. It’s recommended that men who have an average risk of developing colorectal cancer begin screening in their 50s. Men with a family history or colon cancer should start screening earlier in their 40s.