Brenda Lyle – Florida Today

Q:  What are the recommended health screenings for men?

A: According to a survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, 55% of men do not get regular health screenings. Other men go to the doctor — reluctantly. A full 20% of men report going to the doctor just to stop the nagging at home. These and other surveys add up to a sizable number of men who may have undiagnosed health conditions, and/or conditions without consistent treatment.


What’s the big deal anyway?

The American Medical Association cites “doctor avoidance” as the culprit for missed early warning signs of many serious conditions. Some conditions particularly prevalent in men start with NO symptoms. High blood pressure and prostate cancer often don’t announce themselves, but can be detected on routine screenings. Hypertension can lead to cardiac disease, the number one cause of death in men. While the 1 in 8 rate of getting prostate cancer is the same in men as breast cancer in women, men just don’t talk about it like women do. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 97%, but you have to catch it early through screening.

Where do guys start?

If you are under Medicare age, most private health insurances offer a free annual wellness visit. If you are covered by Medicare and have Part “B” for more than 12 months, you are entitled to an annual wellness visit. Over age 65, routine screenings should include an annual physical exam with labs. Your physician will check your blood pressure and order labs that will include looking for the prostate-specific antigen in the blood that signals trouble. Your labs will also look for cholesterol, blood sugar and Hepatitis C and HIV (in high-risk groups). Men, also plan for a colonoscopy when recommended by your physician– but at least every 5-10 years. With the high rate of skin cancer in Florida, men should also see a dermatologist once a year to check for melanoma.

Keep it consistent

Everyone, male or female, should have a yearly check-up with their primary care provider. Married couples can make their annual visit to the doctor on the same day, to help keep each other accountable (Hint: many wives schedules these joint visits). Single men can use their birthday as a scheduling reminder and to KEEP their health-sustaining visits going.

Men routinely take good care of things that are important to them, like their cars, lawn tools and sports equipment. Guys, please work on adding your body to the list. Need help finding a doctor? Call One Senior Place in Viera at 321-751-6771.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.