The Doctor Is In: June is Men’s Health Month

Although the average male life expectancy in America has increased to 75.7
years, women continue to outlive men by nearly five years. Compared to women,
men who feel well and don’t have any warning signs of disease are less likely
to see their family physician for periodic checkups and routine health
screening. Yet, the best time to preserve your good health—regardless of your
gender—is before problems occur.

For my male
patients, I recommend a comprehensive medical evaluation every year beginning
at age 40. This evaluation should include a basic physical exam, weight and
height check, blood pressure reading, tests of liver and kidney function, and
screening for blood sugar (diabetes) and cholesterol levels. Your doctor also
should ask you about lifestyle factors that can affect your health, such as
sleep habits, alcohol and tobacco use, physical activity, diet and nutrition,
and stress.

A major concern
for men as they age is a greater risk of developing prostate cancer, which is
the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men. The prostate is a
walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system, situated below the bladder
and in front of the rectum. Researchers believe the cancer develops from
abnormal cell growth within the prostate. Two of the most common ways to screen
for prostate cancer are a digital rectal examination and a blood test that
checks for known as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The PSA measures
protein levels secreted by the prostate into the bloodstream.

Symptoms of
prostate cancer include:
Dull pain in your lower pelvic area
Urgency of urination
Difficulty starting urination and/or pain while urinating
Weak urine flow and dribbling
Frequent sensation that your bladder is full
Frequent nighttime urination
Blood in the urine
Painful ejaculation
General pain in your lower back, hips or upper thighs
Loss of appetite and weight
Persistent bone pain.

There has been
some debate recently between medical organizations such as the American Cancer
Society and the American
Urological Association
about the best age to begin PSA testing. Most
doctors generally recommend a baseline screening between age 40 and 50,
depending on an individual’s personal risk factors.

If PSA
screening shows elevated protein levels, you may not necessarily have cancer,
and you will need further evaluation. PSA levels can be elevated due to other
conditions, such as benign prostate enlargement (non-cancerous enlargement of
the prostate) or urinary tract infection.

To read more
about prostate screening, read this patient
guide
from the American Urological Association. The American Academy
of Family Physicians’ consumer website
also has a variety of helpful
articles on prostate and general men’s health, as well as other topics of
concern to men.

*Joshua Feinberg, D.O., is a family medicine
physician in practice at the Crozer Health Pavilion, 145
Brinton Lake Road, Suite 201, Glen Mills
, PA 19342, 610-459-1619.

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About Crozer Keystone Staff

Crozer-Keystone Health System’s physicians, specialists and advanced practitioners are committed to improving the health of our community through patient-centered, quality care across a full continuum of health services. Crozer Brinton Lake is Crozer-Keystone’s comprehensive outpatient care facility in western Delaware County, offering primary care, specialty services, outpatient surgery and advanced cancer treatment. Contact us: 300 Evergreen Drive, Glen Mills, PA 19342 http://www.crozerkeystone.org/Brinton-Lake 1-855-254-7425

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