Men: health screenings you need through the decades
Know when to see your doctor and for what.
Of course, every fella is different, but we’ve put together a list of necessary checkups and health screenings men need by age. Take care of yourself according to your specific needs — discuss any health issues and your family history with your doctor and alter these guides according to his or her recommendations.
Ages 18 to 39:
- Get a physical regularly for routine screenings. Your doctor will run blood tests and a urinalysis to screen for various illnesses and diseases like high cholesterol, diabetes, and kidney or thyroid dysfunction.
- Make sure to have a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine once after age 19, and the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine series.
- Get a flu shot every year.
- Check for high blood pressure every two years.
- If you are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, discuss with your doctor how often you should be tested.
- Men over 35 should have their cholesterol tested every 5 years. Family history of heart disease or other risk factors? Start at 20.
- Get a tetanus booster every 10 years.
Ages 40 to 64:
- Now you should be getting that physical every two years — complete with blood tests, urinalysis and an EKG.
- If you are 45 or older and a smoker, your doctor may want to start performing chest X-rays.
- A testosterone screening is also common in your 40s, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue, depression, low sex drive and/or erectile dysfunction.
- Have an eye exam every two to four years ages 40 to 54 and every one to three years ages 55 to 64.
- Under 50 but family history of colon cancer? You should be screened; common test include stool occult blood test, a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy. Men over 50 should be screened regardless.
- Those over 50 with risk factors for osteoporosis should have bone mineral density tested.
- Check for high blood pressure two years and remain aware of STD risk.
- Get a flu shot every year.
- Don’t forget that tetanus booster.
Ages 65 and older:
- Get that physical every year with all the bells and whistles — blood test, urinalysis, EKG, blood pressure check, rectal exam, Hemoccult test, a chest X-ray (if your doctor deems it necessary) and testosterone screening (if needed).
- Talk with your physician about the benefits of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer, in addition to a prostate cancer screening.
- Consider a shingles or herpes zoster vaccine.
- Be sure to get your flu shot every year, and a pneumococcal vaccine if you’re over 65.
- Begin bone mineral density testing at age 70 and discuss with your doctor how often to get checked.
- Continue to get that tetanus booster every 10 years.
Monthly self-exams for all ages:
Monthly, all men should inspect their skin for changing moles or freckles; examine their testicles for lumps, swelling or changes in texture; and check their breasts for lumps.
For a printable chart of these health screenings, visit Men’s Health Network.