Screening Tests for Men

Screening tests are designed to detect hidden disease in otherwise healthy people. Which ones you should have aren't set in stone—experts often disagree on when to start having these tests, how often they should be done, and when to stop.

A good guide comes from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts. Its recommendations help define high-quality preventive health care for Americans.

Keep in mind that the benefits and risks of screening tests and procedures change as you get older. Your doctor can help you tailor the recommendations below based on your goals of care, personal and family health history, age, and life expectancy.

Test

Recommendation

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Have a one-time ultrasound imaging of your heart and aorta (the large blood vessel that comes off the heart) between the ages of 65 and 75 if you have ever smoked.

Blood pressure

Have your blood pressured at least every once every two years if it is in the healthy range (under 120/80) or once a year if it is above normal (between 120/80 and 139/89).

Colorectal cancer

Recommended for men ages 50-75. Talk to your doctor about which screening test, (fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy) or combination of tests, is best for you and how often you need it and if you should continue having these tests after 75.

Diabetes

Get tested for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

HIV/AIDS

Get tested at least once for HIV/AIDS after age 20, or earlier if you are at high risk for being infected by the human immunodeficiency virus. Discuss further testing with your doctor.

Lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides)

Starting at age 35, all men should have their cholesterol checked regularly. Men at high risk for developing heart disease should start at age 20.

Lung cancer

Annual testing with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) between ages 55 and 80 if you have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Sexually transmitted infections (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis)

Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active. After age 25, get tested for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases if you are at increased risk for getting a sexually transmitted infection.

Screening Tests for Men Articles

Colon cancer testing: What's in it for you?

Screening exams can prevent colorectal cancer, although the number of lives this ultimately saves is less clear. Colonoscopy is considered the most thorough exam for finding precancerous growths on the colon wall, although sigmoidoscopy and stool testing are also effective if performed often enough. Despite uncertainties, colorectal cancer screening is one of the most effective preventive health measures. (Locked) More »

Which tests do you need in 2016?

Screening for disease and early detection are essential to optimal health and help identify problems when they're more treatable and curable. It's best for individuals to talk to their doctors about which screenings are right for them. (Locked) More »

Should you be tested for weak bones?

Bone health is a legitimate concern for both men and women, but low bone strength (osteoporosis) affects men to a lesser degree and later in life. Men with clear risk factors for osteoporosis should have a test called dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). (Locked) More »

Abdominal aortic aneurysm: When you need this one-time test

Men 65 and older who ever smoked can be checked for a dangerous bulge in the main blood vessel that leads from the heart, through the abdominal area, and down to the legs. A bulge is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Most are small, grow slowly, and do not ultimately rupture. But being diagnosed with an AAA leads to indefinite follow-up testing and can cause anxiety because of the possibility of fatal rupture.   (Locked) More »

How to make your prostate biopsy go better-before, during, and after

Several things can make a prostate biopsy more comfortable for men and reduce risks of complications. These include taking antibiotics before and after, getting proper anesthesia, and temporarily stopping blood thinners if advised. It is also important that the doctor obtains a sufficient number of samples and sorts them for examination according to the region of the prostate they came from, since this can affect decisions about further testing and possible treatment.  (Locked) More »

High-tech heart scans not always helpful

Using high-tech heart CT scans to identify diabetics at higher risk of heart problems or death and then stepping up their treatment didn't provide any real benefit in the end, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. (Locked) More »

Older men slow to quit PSA testing

Many American men 65 and older continue to have routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests to look for hidden cancer, despite expert recommendations that discourage the practice, according to national survey findings. (Locked) More »