Special Report

24 Medical Tests Every Man Should Have and When

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11. Melanoma
> When to get tested: Every year

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and can appear anywhere on the body, including in the eyes and inside the nose or throat. Men have a higher risk of developing this type of cancer than women, and they are more likely to die of melanoma than women. This may be due to men knowing less about skin cancer and its risk factors, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology in 2016.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people get a full skin exam once a year in order to check for signs of skin cancer. The exams, which should be conducted by a dermatologist, look for unusual or suspicious moles or markings on the skin. Nearly 78,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in the U.S. every year between 2012 and 2016, according to the CDC. About 46,000 of each year’s new melanoma cases were in men.

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12. Other skin cancers
> When to get tested: Once a year

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. More than two people die of skin cancer in the country every hour, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Non-melanoma skin cancer is also more common in men than in women.

Annual full-body exams by a dermatologist are recommended for people with a history of melanoma or skin lesions, those who have family history of skin cancer, and those who have a lot of moles or a history of atypical moles, have had an organ transplant, or have a history of significant sun exposure. Other skin cancer risk factors include fair skin, sunburns, exposure to radiation, and living in high-altitude climates where the sunlight is stronger.

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13. Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
> When to get tested: Between 65 and 75

Abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of the main blood vessel that delivers blood to the body. The aorta runs from the heart through the center of the chest and abdomen. An aneurysm can be fatal if it bursts. Symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm include constant stomach pain, back pain, and a pulse near the abdomen.

Men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do. The disease has a 4:1 male to female predominance. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a screening test, which uses high-frequency sound waves, for men between 65 to 75 who have a history of smoking.

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14. Glaucoma
> When to get tested: After 40

There are several types of glaucoma, a condition that affects the nerve connecting the eye to the brain. The most common type of glaucoma is an open-angle glaucoma, which often has no symptoms other than gradual vision loss. Glaucoma, which has no cure, is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S. More than 3 million Americans are living with glaucoma, but half of them don’t even know it, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

African American men and all men who have a family history of glaucoma are at higher risk of the disease. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye disease screening for everyone over the age of 40. People at higher risk — such as diabetics, those with high blood pressure, and people with family history of glaucoma — should start testing earlier.

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15. Osteoporosis
> When to get tested: After 70

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of major bone fractures even after bending. Most people don’t even know they have osteoporosis until a fracture occurs because the disease progresses slowly without symptoms. Compared to men, women tend to develop osteoporosis earlier in life, and it progresses faster in women because they have less bone mass. Still, osteoporosis in men has been recognized as a serious public health issue.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all men over the age of 70 or men over the age of 50 who have risk factors get a bone density test. Risk factors include certain medications, low testosterone levels, thyroid problems, excessive drinking, smoking, having stomach or intestine diseases, and prolonged bed rest.