Sinclair Cares: When men need to see a doctor

(WEAR-TV)

Americans use preventive health services at about half the recommended rate. Women are 33 percent more likely than men to visit a doctor and 100 percent more likely to visit a doctor for annual exams.

From probe-a-phobia to time constraints, Dr. Stephen Miniat of Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Florida, has heard all the excuses. But he recommends men go at least once a year.

"You can get away with it for a while, but sooner or later you're going to pay the price," Miniat said.

What are men really worried about?

"I think it would be cancer," one man said.

The American Cancer Society says about 1 in every 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Men should start being screened for it at age 40 to 45.

How about the recommended age for a colonoscopy?

Fifty is the recommended age for both a prostate exam and a colonoscopy, unless you have a family history of either cancers or symptoms. (The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45.)

"You're actually trying to catch a cancer before it occurs and if you can do that, then your success is much greater," Miniat said.

Men between the ages of 20 and 69 are almost twice as likely as women to have hearing loss, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.

What's to blame? Miniat said it could be a number of things.

"Work environment can make a big difference. any exposure to loud sounds makes a difference," he said.

Let's talk about low testosterone. After age 30 or 40, testosterone levels generally decline about 1 percent each year.

Miniat said there are several testosterone replacement therapy options, but they can have side effects.

"People who use testosterone are at an increased risk of having heart attacks, strokes and cancer," Miniat said.

The message here: Go to the doctor.

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