Screening Tests for Men Archive


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

Family history or past smoking both point to higher risk for this potentially fatal condition.

How many "lifesaving" medical tests have you been offered lately? One frequently marketed to older men is an ultrasound of the abdominal aorta, the large artery below the heart that feeds the lower body. A bulging weak spot there—an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)—could eventually rupture, and that is usually fatal.

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







Before a prostate biopsy, discuss all the
steps you or your doctor can take to make
the experience as comfortable, safe, and
informative as possible.

Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Getty Images

Here is what men need to know to minimize discomfort of a prostate biopsy and get the best results.

High-tech heart scans not always helpful

Doing high-tech heart scans on people at above-average risk of heart problems sounds like common sense, but it often doesn't add much benefit to just taking necessary medications, staying fit, eating healthy, and not smoking. This is one take-home message from a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which involved a group of people long known to be at higher cardiac risk: middle-aged adults with diabetes.

The 900 study participants were already being treated with medication and other measures to lower their blood sugar. They had no existing symptoms of clogged arteries, like chest pain or past heart attacks. Half were chosen at random to have CT angiography, a scan that can reveal cholesterol-rich deposits that lead to heart attacks.

Ask the doctor: Should I be screened for lung cancer?

Q. I smoked for 10 years during my wayward youth. I stopped 25 years ago, but now I worry about my risk for lung cancer. What can I do to prevent it? Should I be screened?

A. Fortunately, you have already done the most important thing possible to prevent lung cancer: you quit smoking. There isn't much more you can do to decrease your risk of lung cancer except avoid secondhand smoke and follow a healthy diet.

Older men slow to quit PSA testing

Despite recommendations against routinely screening for hidden prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, many men have continued to do so, according to national survey findings reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. Most striking, large numbers of men 70 and older, who stand to gain the least from PSA testing, have continued the practice.

The survey questioned men in 2012, about a year after release of a strong recommendation against prostate cancer screening with PSA by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a group of experts on preventive medicine.

What blood tests require fasting?

Very few blood tests require a period of fasting before the test. They include tests for blood glucose and triglycerides. It is permitted to drink water, coffee, or black tea before the tests.

The risks of testing for hidden disease

"Just in case" health screening tests can have downsides you may not be aware of.

Have you ever received an offer in the mail to undergo a discount package of "potentially lifesaving" health screening tests? Such for-profit services are typically provided at local clinics and community centers; some companies have their own fleets of mobile screening vans.

Testosterone therapy may not be as safe as once thought

Screening men for cardiovascular risks before starting testosterone therapy may help avert dangerous blood clots.






Image: Thinkstock

Lessons learned from women’s health are helping doctors decipher the risks of hormone use in men.

Testosterone testing is more flexible in older men

Testosterone levels can fluctuate over the course of the day, so medical guidelines recommend that men get blood drawn for hormone tests in the morning, when testosterone is highest. But morning measurements may be less important for older men, according to a study in the Journal of Urology.

Researchers looked at testosterone levels measured in 2,600 men who went to an erectile dysfunction clinic. In men younger than 45, testosterone was highest at 7 a.m. but as much as 33% lower by 2 p.m. In contrast, the levels in older men varied very little.

Do older adults need colorectal cancer screenings?

Image: Thinkstock 

Some people may need the screening well into their 80s.

Keeping your gut healthy as you get older takes more than exercising and eating the right diet. You must also undergo occasional screenings for colorectal cancer (CRC). But is there a point when you can stop getting routine screenings? "It's not a simple issue. It really depends on the person who needs the screening," says gastroenterologist Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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