Men's Health: A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way
June, the month we celebrate our fathers, is also International Men’s Health Month. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of these conditions among men and boys. Although male life expectancy has increased, from an average of 68.8 to 76.3 years, as of 2015, men still do not live as long as women, who currently live an average of 81.2 years.
One of the factors that could influence women living longer lives is that they tend to go to the doctor more often, a CDC study found that in 2015, women had significantly more office-based physician visits than men, with 362 visits per 100 females coming in much higher than the rate for males, which was 262 visits per 100 males. Scheduling regular check-ups and preventative screenings can help catch some of these common men’s health issues, leaving men with more time to spend with their families and friends. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top health issues for men, which are:
• Cardiovascular disease
• Prostate cancer
• Testicular cancer
• Lung cancer
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. According to statistics from the CDC, about 8.1% of all non-Hispanic white men, 7.9% of non-Hispanic black men and 6.3% of Hispanic men have coronary heart disease. In 2013, heart disease was the cause of death for 321,000 men, representing 1 in every 4 male deaths. Between 70% and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men. Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease. You can try to reduce the risk of heart disease by avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet. Regular checkups are also essential in helping to prevent heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular issues. Know the warning signs of a heart attack and seek medical help immediately should you experience any of them.
Lung Cancer is the second most common cancer for men behind prostate cancer. According to American Cancer Society estimates, there will be 121,680 new cases of lung cancer among men this year, with 83,550 men dying from the disease. Lung disease is most prevalent among older adults, with the average age of diagnosis being around 70. Men face a 1 in 15 chance of developing lung cancer, with smokers facing a higher risk. Lung cancer is a serious disease, but, with early detection and treatment, many people in the early stages of it can be cured. In fact, more than 430,000 people are still alive after fighting and triumphing over lung cancer. If you are at risk of lung or any other cancer, having a cancer care solution to help cover some of your medical expenses is also a good idea.
Of course, just because June is designated as Men’s Health Month, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep tabs on your health and well-being throughout the year. As you can see, the key to overcoming these diseases is early detection, so make regular checkups and screenings a habit and head to your doctor if you are experiencing anything out of the ordinary. Your loved ones will thank you for it.
Prostate Cancer is the third most common cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. The chance of developing this cancer increases as men get older, and is less likely found in men under 50 years of age. It is estimated that there will be 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer in 2018. It is also estimated that 29,430 men will die of the disease this year. According to data collected from 2013 – 2015 by the National Cancer Institute, approximately 11.2% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime. In 2015, there were an estimated 3,120,176 men living with prostate cancer in the United States.
Fortunately, the number of new prostate cancer diagnoses continues to steadily decline, and over 98% percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have survived for five years after diagnosis and treatment. The earlier prostate cancer is caught, the better chance a man has of surviving. Prostate cancer usually grows at a very slow rate and early detection is key to getting effective treatment.
The number of people living with depression continues to increase, with more than 300 million people affected worldwide. Many of these people don't seek out the treatment they need to live a healthy, productive life. The world Health Organization has identified strong links between depression and other non-communicable disorders and diseases. People suffering from depression are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and are at greater risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Conversely, people with cardiovascular disease are at a higher risk for sinking into a depressive state.
Depression is also an important risk factor for suicide, which claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women. The suicide rate is highest among middle aged - white men in particular, who accounted for 7 out of 10 suicides in 2016. While many cite the stigma surrounding mental illness as a reason to avoid seeking care, if you experience any signs of depression, reach out and get the help you need. If you're not comfortable discussing your feelings with family and friends, there are a wealth of resources, including hotlines, support groups and therapists who can help.
In 2018, estimates indicate that there will be 9,310 new cases of testicular cancer reported in the U.S. For men ages 15-44, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. While the average age of diagnosis is 33, around 8% of cases are diagnosed in men 55 or older. While the number of testicular cancer cases has increased for the past 40 years, death rates continue to slowly decline. According to 2018 estimates, around 400 deaths will be attributed to testicular cancer. These deaths occur when the cancer spreads to areas of the body that could not be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery or from complications occurring during treatment. When testicular cancer is detected early, it greatly increases the survival rate. The 5-year survival rate for men with testicular cancer is 95%.