Man Up And See Your Doctor During Men’s Health Month | VA Washington DC Health Care

Every June, VA joins the nation is recognizing Men’s Health Month by promoting annual health exams and recommended screenings for men.

With Father’s Day fast approaching, the Washington DC VA Medical Center Care Team is joining the cause to arm all male Veterans with knowledge about health concerns impacting them, and tips to live a healthier lifestyle.

Did you know that men are statistically less likely to visit the doctor for routine health exams than women? Which may be a contributing factor to why men live, on average, five years less than their female counterparts. Annual health checks are an important part of maintaining good health for men of all ages,  and these checks are potentially more vital as you age, when recommended screening for several cancers and health conditions come into play.

VA recommends scheduling routine screenings for the following health concerns that often impact male Veterans:

Heart Disease

heart disease encompasses many different issues affecting the heart, and all can lead to serious and fatal complications when they go undetected. According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three adult men have some form of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, African-American men account for 100,000 more cardiovascular disease deaths than Caucasian men. Through routine check-ups, your VA provider can evaluate your heart health, including any family history of heart disease, and provide tips and resources to help you live a heart healthy lifestyle.

Lung Cancer

According to the American Lung Association, each year more men are diagnosed with and develop lung cancer than in years past. African American men have a higher risk of dying from the disease compared to other racial or ethnic groups. Veterans may be more likely to develop lung cancer due to an increased chance of smoking and exposure to toxic substances through their service. VA recommends lung cancer screening for Veterans who:

  • Are 50 – 80 years old
  • Are current or former smokers who quit less than 15 years ago
  • Smoked at least 20 pack-years (A ‘pack-year’ is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 20 pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years.)

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among U.S. Veterans, making up 30% of new cancer diagnoses in the VA. To better understand this trend and develop advanced treatment options for Veterans with prostate cancer, VA Research partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to establish the Precision Oncology Program for Cancer of the Prostate. This program uses genetic information to tailor individualized treatments for Veterans with advanced prostate cancer.

VA recommended talking to your provider about any family history of prostate cancer to identify your risk factors and schedule prostate cancer screening. The average recommended age for screening is between 55 and 69 years old, but Veterans with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer may need to start as early as 40.  

These health conditions listed above are just a few of many that men Veterans are commonly diagnosed with at VA. Diabetes, depression and other mental health issues are also prevalent in men’s health. Routine health exams and open dialogue with your VA provider can help to reduce risks to your health. The following tips are another great way to start improving your health and wellness right away:

  1. Find a provider and schedule routine visits with that provider
  2. Stay informed about health issues concerning you
  3. Implement a healthy diet
  4. Add exercise to your routine
  5. Invest in your mental health
  6. Pay attention to changes in your mental and physical health

At VA, we’re proud to provide quality care and compassion to over 17 million male Veterans. We want to empower you to take charge of your health through daily exercise, a balanced diet, stress management and regular medical exams. Click here to schedule an appointment with your Washington DC VA Medical Center provider and get started on your health care journey today!

 

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