In observance of Men's Health Month, Apicha Community Health Center wanted to raise awareness of the health needs for men under the age of 30. We get it, you're busy. But your personal health should always be a top priority.
Obviously depending on your particular health conditions, your primary care provider will decide which tests you need and which you don't. But nothing is wrong with some preventative maintenance to always keep your health in check.
Because we love promoting healthy lifestyles, we've outlined a few best practices for men under the age of 30. Your health and well-being are important, not only to you, but to us as well.
Testicular Cancer Screening
This year alone, an estimated 8,720 men in the United States will be diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is a malignant cancer in the testicle. Although rare, this specific type of cancer mostly affects men between the ages of 15 and 35. And, it is the most common solid tumor in men between the ages of 18 and 40.
There are many precautionary steps that you can take to ensure that you don't become a statistic. This includes scheduling regular screening appointments with your doctor to ensure that no symptoms have developed, and performing a testicular self-exam (TSE).
What are the symptoms of Testicular Cancer?
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A painless lump in the testicle
- An enlarged (swollen) testicle
- A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
- Breast growth or soreness
- A sudden gathering of fluid in the scrotum
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Lower back pain
The best preventative measures are to stay up-to-date on all of your annual health exams and learn how to perform a testicular self-exam (ask your doctor/PCP).
Many of young men's special healthcare needs are related to sex. Below is a list of sex-related health issues you may need to think about:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most HIV infections occurred in adults aged 25 to 34 years. Still, many get infected at an earlier age.
We recommend that everyone at least get a test done once in their life as well as recommend going through regular HIV screenings if you have one or more of these risks listed below:
- Men who have sex with other men
- Having unprotected sex
- Having multiple sex partners
- Anyone who has sex with a prostitute
- Anyone who shares needles for injecting drugs
- Anyone who exchanges sex for drugs, money, or a place to stay
- Anyone who has a sexually transmitted infection
- Anyone who has had or currently has a sexual partner with any of the above risk behaviors
- Anyone who has a partner infected with HIV
Every year, there are an estimated 20 million new STD infections in the United States. It is critical to not only your health, but also to the health of others. Many STDs don't have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems.
All sexually active gay, bisexual, men who have sex with men, and other men who have multiple or anonymous partners should be screened more frequently for STIs. This means at least in 3 to 6 month intervals.
- Talk with your health care provider
- Find a location to get tested
The HPV vaccine will help you avoid related health issues such as some cancers and genital warts.
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
- Gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men up to age 26
- Men with a compromised immune system up to age 26
HIV / STDs are preventable. Get out and get tested! And if you're high-risk for contracting HIV, talk to your primary care provider about how to get PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylaxis!
Skin Cancer Screening
Men are two to three times more likely to get non-melanoma basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers than women. Melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer accounts for 48,000 deaths per year and is on the rise in people ages 20 to 40.
A common misconception is that people who are darker-skinned cannot develop skin cancer, but this is far from the case.
There are also some skin cancers that people of certain ethnicities are actually more apt to develop. For example, Latinos, Chinese, and Japanese Asians tend to develop basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common skin cancer. But the second most common, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), is more frequent among African Americans and Asian Indians (Skin Cancer Foundation).
The American Cancer society now recommends regular skin exams to check for changes in any marks on your body including shape, size, and color. Basically, if you find anything on your body that causes you any concern, show it to your doctor.
Whether you're rushing to hit the beaches for the weekend or are relaxing by the pool, don't forget to lotion up! Use a broad spectrum sunscreen (protection against UVA + UVB) with SPF 30 or 50; apply 30 minutes before sun exposure and keep reapplying every 2 hours.
We care about your health, and we hope you understand the importance of YOU caring about your health too! Never hesitate to schedule regular checkups with your doctor, and speak freely with them about any health concerns that you may have, including HIV/STD concerns, or any reproductive concerns. Trust us, they've heard it all before, nothing you say will surprise them, and you should never feel any fear of judgement from your doctor.