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Essential screening tests for men

Essential screening tests for men
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Essential screening tests for men

Screening tests or health checks aim to pick up health problems early in people who don't have any symptoms of disease. This page is about the types of screening tests men might need. Your doctor can advise you of the specific tests you should have and how often.

Importance of screening tests

Even if you feel healthy, you should see a doctor for regular checkups. Many conditions or diseases can develop slowly over a long period and may not cause any symptoms initially. Screening tests can pick up early signs of disease. For many diseases, early management is more effective than later treatment.

Read below a compilation of the most common health issues for men and how to screen for them to keep on top of your health.

Heart health

One of the main screening tests for adults is for heart health. You should have a heart health check at least once every 2 years. This usually involves questions about your lifestyle and family, and a blood pressure check. You might also need a blood cholesterol test.

Diabetes

You might be advised to have a fasting blood sugar test for diabetes at least once every three years.

Hearing and eyesight

Hearing loss and eyesight problems become common with age. If you are 65 or older, you should have yearly hearing tests and eye tests. If you are regularly exposed to loud noises at work, you should also get your hearing checked regularly.

Prostate cancer

No test is recommended for screening in men. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about prostate cancer. For more information, see the Cancer Council's website.

Bowel cancer

A faecal occult blood test (stool sample test) is recommended every two years if you are aged 50 or above. If you are at increased risk, you may be advised to have a colonoscopy instead.

Skin cancer

Check your moles for any changes every three months. See your doctor regularly for a full body skin check, especially if you work outdoors or have had skin cancer before.

Depression

Some men have depression that is not recognised by them or by those around them. If you feel down, irritable or angry and lose interest in things you usually enjoy, talk to your doctor. Visit beyondblue’s Man Therapy website for resources to help men with mental problems.

Sources:

Cancer Council Australia (Prostate cancer detection), MyDr (Health checks men should have), Heart Foundation (Heart health check), RACGP (Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice, 8th edition. Introduction), RACGP (Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice, 8th edition. Type 2 diabetes), Beyondblue (Depression in men)

Last reviewed: August 2016

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