Us guys, we like to think that we’re invincible. That’s why we rarely think about screenings and health tests that can catch serious conditions well ahead of time—aren’t those just for old timers? The reality is, these tests can help save your life at any age. Here are five medical check-ups we recommend you get regularly, even if you’re under 30.
Cholesterol level screenings
Although men over 45 should be getting tested regularly for high cholesterol, men as young as 20 years old need to get their cholesterol levels checked out to see if they’re at future risk for serious conditions, such as heart disease, especially if they have a high BMI, diabetes, or smoke regularly. Once men hit the 20-year mark, they should get screened once every five years or less, depending on what their doctors says. After 45, the frequency should increase to once every three years or less.
Regular colorectal cancer screenings should begin annually for men at the 40-year mark, no questions asked. Granted that almost no one under 40 develops it, the European Cancer Organization found in 2013 that when colon cancer strikes men less than 40 years old, it goes hard. Young men were 30 per cent more likely to die than their more senior counterparts, and their cancer had a 28 per cent higher chance of spreading. If you’re between 19 and 29, and also have two or more drinks per day, smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of the disease, you should consider getting screened roughly every two years. Early detection can otherwise increase your chances of surviving five or more years by 93 per cent, according to Cancer Research UK.
Men are at a higher risk than women when it comes to developing skin cancer, which accounts for nearly one in 10 cancer diagnoses overall. That’s why we need to take personal responsibility in detecting it early. In addition to an annual check by a dermatologist starting at age 20, we need to check our moles out at least once a month for telltale signs of melanoma: asymmetry, irregular borders, uneven colour, a diameter of over six millimetres and any noticeable change or growth.
High blood pressure testing
Worryingly high blood pressure is on the rise for men between the ages of 24 and 32, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health—it may affect up to 19 per cent of young adults in that age range, as opposed to just four per cent of adults between 20 and 39. To help catch it early, get checked out every year once you hit 20. More frequent tests may be necessary if you ingest a lot of sodium, live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, drink, or are overweight. Hypertension and other conditions associated with high blood pressure may begin at a younger than average age in African American males.
Testicular cancer screening
This common form of men’s cancer has one of the highest five-year survival and cure rates there is, but only if caught early before it has spread outside the tecicles. To take your health in your own hands, perform a regular self-examination in the shower every few weeks. Seek out odd lumps; rounded, smooth sections; and unfamiliar growths on the testicles. Bear in mind that they’ll naturally have a bump near the top, and one is generally larger than the other for most men. However, if you have any doubt about something new down there, check with your doctor to get screened.