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As Prescribed Blog



As Prescribed Blog

Men's Health: Prevention

Muted cropped image of a man’s hands folded and arms on knees sitting on a couch. To the side is another man in a doctor’s coat holding a tablet and stylus. Text overlay reads: Men’s Health: Prevention.
Dane Schultz, DNP, APNP Dane Schultz, DNP, APNP June 1, 2023 0 Comments General Health

On average, men’s life expectancy is less than women’s by about four to six years. Men face the same health issues that affect everyone, but they are less likely to see doctors or take care of their health, often citing they don’t want to hear bad news. Regular wellness visits and preventative care, however, can turn potentially bad news into good.

You can prevent men’s health issues with healthy living and regular wellness visits. Regular physical exams, as well as screenings for cancer and other diseases, can increase life expectancy and improve men’s quality of life. Here are the preventative tasks you should be performing to maintain your health and increase your life expectancy. 

Wellness Visits

Early detection of medical issues significantly reduces the frequency and severity of illness at all stages of life. Men over 18 should have a wellness visit to their primary care doctor once every three to five years. For men over 30, those visits should occur every year.

Many illnesses progress without symptoms, and getting regular check-ups can give your doctor the chance to look for anything you might not have noticed. Regular visits also give your doctor a consistent picture to establish your baseline for health, so when things change or there are irregularities, your doctor can act more quickly. 

Wellness visits are also important for quality of life. Men are less likely to see doctors for illness or injury, but in the end they are only hurting themselves more. It's easy to suffer through injury from work or recreation, common diseases like cold or flu, and even poor mental health. The truth is that if you weren’t stressed, sick, tired, or in pain—physically or mentally—you’d be able to do more of the things you love and spend more time focusing on friends and family. 


In addition to wellness visits, an easy way to stay in good health is to stay up-to-date with vaccinations. Some vaccinations you should get only once, but others it’s important to get regularly. 

Routine vaccines include:

Other less regular vaccines men should get are: 

Other vaccines you qualify for depend on factors like age, life events like your job and travel, and certain health conditions like diabetes and liver disease. Your doctor should have a record of your vaccines, and you can access them by logging into My Compass

Cancer Screenings

Cancer screenings are vital to early detection and early treatment. Screening for certain cancers can catch cancer early or even prevent it before it forms. Waiting until symptoms occur can often mean the cancer has progressed and potentially turned deadly. These are the cancer screenings men should bring up to their doctor. Your schedule of regular screenings depends on age and other risk factors.

  • Testicular Cancer—Testicular cancer is rare,  but it is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34 and is four times more prevalent in White men than in Black men. 
  • Colorectal Cancer—Colorectal cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the United States and is one of the most preventable. Regular colon screening like colonoscopies can detect cancer in its early stages and even remove precancerous material before it becomes dangerous.
  • Prostate Cancer—Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men and is more common in Black men, who are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as other men. Screening for prostate cancer comes with certain risks, so talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you. 
  • Lung Cancer—Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer for both men and women. Lung cancer screening should be followed up yearly for people who have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, smoke now or have quit in the past 15 years, and are between 50 and 80 years old.

Blood Pressure, STIs, and Diabetes Screenings

Your doctor might routinely recommend or run these screenings during your wellness visits. You should know how regularly you should get screened for issues depending on your age and risk factors. Talk to your doctor to find out.

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings are important for catching problems early and for maintaining an accurate picture of your health. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels both increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, which are in the top five leading causes of death in the United States each year. Men even at young ages should get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.
  • STI testing, including HIV and Hepatitis B and C, should be tested for at least once in your life and up to once a year for men with certain risk factors. Early detection of HIV can significantly increase your chances of preventing HIV-related illnesses like AIDS as well as remaining undetected, meaning you cannot transmit HIV to others. Some symptoms of Hepatitis might present as common ailments like fatigue and joint pain, which can quickly progress to liver fibrosis and liver cancer. Early detection is helps treatment. 
  • Diabetes testing is important for men, who are more likely to get type 2 diabetes at a lower weight than women. Diabetes can mean a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, vision loss, and kidney failure. In men, diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction (ED), male incontinence, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and retrograde ejaculation, when semen is released into the bladder. 

Everyday Care

While wellness visits, vaccines, cancer screenings, and other medical conditions screenings can all contribute to a better, longer life, it’s in the day-to-day things that you can make the most impact. Keeping your heart healthy with exercise; protecting your gut with good nutrition; and refraining from smoking, alcohol, and substance use all have an impact on preventing illness and injury. Mental health also impacts our lives in ways we might not even see. If you’re stressed, sleeping poorly, or otherwise struggling, don’t keep it from your doctor. Speak up

The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of others. Don’t miss out on quality time with your friends and family by suffering through injury, illness, or poor health. Why be sick, injured, or unhappy when you don’t have to be?

Follow-up with your doctor to schedule your regular wellness visit and discuss vaccines and preventative screenings. Don’t forget to ask questions about changes you can make to your daily life to improve your health and quality of life. The people you love will thank you for it.

Sources: American Cancer Society (ACS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Medical News Today, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Health (NIH)