Numbers To Know – Men’s Edition
Age at which men should start getting PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests.
Just like in women, 40 is the age where proactive steps can help you be your healthiest. Prostate cancer is common in men, and the risk is greater as men age. Fortunately, most prostate cancers are slow growing and treatable – especially when found early. This is why a simple screening blood test to determine the level of PSA and a physical exam by your doctor make sense.
Number of men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in adult males in the US. Screening with PSA testing and physical exams reduces the risk of death from prostate cancer – by as much as 44%!
Age at which almost half of testicular cancers are found. Testicular cancer is rare. Again, treatment is most successful when found early. This is why prompt reporting of any lumps or changes should prompt a doctor’s evaluation. Even lumps found after trauma are important – don’t assume the lump is related to your injury until you see your doctor. Ultrasound is often used as a way of imaging the scrotum when there is a lump or pain.
Number of men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime (no, it’s not just for women!). Men do get breast cancer. In males, cancer of the breast is usually found either by the patient or on a physical exam by your doctor. Remember, just as in women, if you do find a lump it is likely the finding will be benign or non-cancerous, with benign development of breast tissue a common cause of symmetric lumps in the tissue behind the nipples in men. The only way to know for sure is to be evaluated by your doctor who may send you for imaging after examining you. Imaging for men will follow much the same guidelines as for women, with evaluation starting with a mammogram and often followed by breast ultrasound.
Number of deaths for men from heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of adult men and women – by far. Risk factors include: smoking, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, family history, obesity, diabetes and inactivity. If you have risk factors, a CT coronary calcium score can be one more tool used to assess your risk. This is a simple, quick CT done to assess the presence of calcium in the arteries of your heart which is a marker for atherosclerosis or thickening and hardening of the arteries. The results are reported in comparison with others your age and sex and can help determine if further treatment or evaluation are needed.
Percentage of patients with hypertension who don’t have their BP controlled. A failing grade! Know your numbers! Blood pressure can be controlled by modifications in diet, exercise and often with medications. Keeping that blood pressure healthy helps keep your heart and all of your blood vessels – including those going to your brain! – healthy.
Numbers of years of life expectancy lost from smoking. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable deaths. If you do use tobacco, get help to quit for good. If you have a smoking history of more than 30 pack years (meaning you have smoked at least 1 pack per day for over 30 years or its equivalent) and are over the age of 55, you should be getting annual low dose screening CT chest evaluations. Screening with low dose CT has been proven to reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer.