10 tests all men should take

If you’re like a lot of guys, your car gets a tune-up more often than you do, but there are tests that all men should have to make sure that all their parts are up and running smoothly. The road to good health runs through all these exams – ask your doctor if you need one or all of them.

Testosterone level. As many as 5 million American men have low testosterone levels, which can inhibit mood, sexual performance, bone strength and hair growth.

Testicular screening. Testicular cancer is most common among white men between the ages of 20 and 34. Regular self-screenings should be performed; any changes in normal appearance or feel warrant a professional test.

Digital rectal examination (DRE). The most direct way for a physician to screen for prostate and colorectal cancer. Note: the phrase “digital” has nothing to do with computers.

STD screening. One in two Americans will have contracted a sexually transmitted disease by age 25. That seems like enough motivation to get tested every six months if you’re sexually active.

Colon cancer test. Screening sigmoidoscopies (looking for signs of polyps or colon cancer) are recommended every 5 years for men of average risk for colon cancer, along with yearly stool tests for blood, starting at age 50. If you have a history of colon cancer or polyps in your family, you may need to be screened more frequently.

Blood pressure. Nearly one in three Americans has high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Get tested annually or more frequently if yours is already high.

Skin cancer screening. Skin screenings are an easy way to detect skin cancer in its early stages and also learn about prevention.

Eye exam. Along with testing your vision and screening for glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, eye exams can also reveal signs of diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The major risk factors for prostate cancer: age (70 percent of cases occur in men 65 and older), family history and race (African-Americans have the highest risk factor). Men over 50 should have yearly screenings.

Routine physical examination. Even if you don’t fall into the high-risk groups for heart disease, stroke or cancer, a yearly checkup is a good way to isolate the little problems before they become big ones.

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