Men’s Health Month, most common health issues in men


SPRINGFIELD — June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, an important time to encourage the males in your life to get important health checkups.

Trends show men tend to avoid going to the doctor for a variety of reasons, though they still need specific annual health screenings to ensure their well-being by reducing the potential health risks.

“There are a lot of reasons men avoid the doctor. In some cases, they feel they’re just too busy. For others, they may have a case of superhero syndrome where they see themselves as invincible, and fear of a bad outcome or bad diagnosis prevents them from getting the help they need,” explained Dr. Marvin Narcelles with Mercy Health – East Springfield Internal Medicine. “The thing is, if we can get them seeing a provider regularly and getting these important routine screenings, then we can often prevent major health issues or at the very least catch them early on, when they’re much easier to treat.”

Here are some of the most common health problems every man should know about:

– Heart Disease. Roughly one in three men suffer from cardiovascular disease, and it’s more common in African Americans. High stress levels, a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet can put you at risk for certain types of heart disease.

“Older men aren’t the only ones who may develop heart issues,” said Narcelles. “Men who are under 45 often experience high blood pressure. If left unchecked, that can lead to life threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.”

– Skin Cancer. Men tend to die of skin cancer at higher rates than women, so take this health risk seriously. Skin cancer should be treated as early as possible. If you notice brown spots with dark speckles, painful lesions or lesions of an asymmetrical shape, or moles that change in size or color – especially on your face or trunk – consult with your primary care provider immediately. If skin cancer runs in your family, you sunburn easily or have a history of irregular moles, you should also be particularly vigilant.

Although skin cancer can develop on body parts that don’t get sun exposure, you should always take precautions when you’re outside. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for products that are at least SPF 30 and reapply as needed. In addition, wear lightweight clothes and accessories that limit sun exposure.

– Colon Cancer. If you’re 50 years old or older, you should schedule routine colon cancer screenings. Although it’s one of the top health risks for men, it’s easiest to treat when it’s caught early. Some symptoms of colon cancer include blood in stool, diarrhea or constipation, pain in your abdomen, and unexpected weight loss.

“Many of these symptoms can simply be signs of less severe problems, such as IBS, but it’s important to get it checked out regardless because colon cancer can spread before you even begin noticing the signs,” said Narcelles.

– Prostate Cancer. Men over 45 should also seek a regular prostate cancer screening. About one out of every eight men develop prostate cancer, but it’s rare in people under 40 years old. If you have symptoms that include blood in semen or urine, painful ejaculation or urination, or pain in the pelvis or hips, it’s important to get checked out. However, in some cases, men with prostate cancer won’t notice any symptoms which only makes regular screenings all the more important.

– Mental Health Disorders. “Some men don’t like to talk about mental health, but they’re not immune to mental health issues. Disorders such as depression and anxiety are common men’s health issues, and it’s important to be vocal about any problems you may be dealing with,” urged Narcelles.

A wide range of mental disorders can affect people, so if you have thoughts of suicide or you notice that your mood interferes with your daily life or relationships, talk to your primary care provider right away. They may direct you to a therapist or other mental health professional who can offer help.

Be sure to touch base with your primary care provider if you are a man and have questions about what annual health screenings you should be undergoing or what conditions you may be at a higher risk for. If you don’t have a health care provider, head to to find a physician nearest you.

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