The most important health tests for men


Men often ignore important health warnings and soldier on, but what are the health checks that they should carry out on a regular basis?

Tests you can do at home

Testicular examination

As women should be breast aware, men should be testicular aware. Know what is your normal by doing a monthly self-examination. Not all irregularities are an indication of cancer, a lump or swelling can be caused by an infection. If you notice any changes at all make an appointment to see your doctor.

This website is particularly informative: https://nutsandbolts.movember.com

Be skin aware

Much as though we know that we should use sunscreen, men often don’t bother to apply one. Not using sun protection can lead to long-term damage including an increased risk of developing melanoma. The risk potential is worsened by the use of sun-beds.

Men under 50 have a higher chance of getting skin cancer than any other form of cancer.

Check your skin every 3 months and be alert to any itching, bleeding or change in texture. Also look out for new freckles, moles, or changes in the shape or colour of existing ones.  A handheld mirror can help you to check those hard to see places.

If you notice any changes at all speak to your doctor. Take photos and monitor further changes to keep a record.

Know your ABC of moles.

Mental wellbeing

Knowing the difference between being a little down and experiencing the symptoms of depression and anxiety is important. Men all too often shy away from being able to discuss the fact that they might not be able to cope and of all the referrals to the NHS for mental wellbeing, only 36% are for men. It’s important to know that it’s OK to talk and all of us need support at some time.

Across all age groups, more women attempt to commit suicide, but more men actually succeed. Men are almost 3 times more likely to take their own life than women.

Certain industries have a higher incidence of suicide. Construction workers are 3 times more likely to commit suicide while half of trades people suffer from some form of mental health problems due to their work and at the top of the list is financial worries.

Listen to celebrity hairdresser Neil Moodie chat with Tom Chapman, founder of Lions Barber Collective, the non-profit barber shops for people able to open up about their mental health while they have their hair cut.

When to check in with your doctor

Heart health

Heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in the UK. Doctors say that most cases of premature death are avoidable and lifestyle measures can be put in place to improve heart health. Have regular check-ups on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Health style steps to reduce your risk of heart disease

  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Aim to get your Body Mass Index down to 25
  • Don’t smoke and if you do smoke, cut down the number of cigarettes
  • Take regular exercise
  • Drink within moderation, 2 units per day

Bowel cancer

When caught early almost all cases of bowel cancer can be cured. From the age of 60, everyone in the UK has the opportunity to be screened for bowel cancer. This is in the form of a simple stool sample kit that is sent away by post for analysis. The NHS are gradually lowering this age to 50 to ensure as many people as possible come within the screening.

Book an appointment with your doctor if you should see any changes in your motions including blood or mucus in the stool, a change in bowel habit or abdominal pain. 

Prostate health

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, especially over the age of 50. You may experience one or several of the following symptoms, however if you suffer from these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. There could be other underlying reasons:

  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Frequent visits to the toilet to pass urine
  • A feeling that you can’t empty your bladder
  • Starting and stopping while urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty in achieving an erection
  • Unexplained weight loss

 If you show symptoms of potentially having prostate cancer your doctor will advise that you take a PSA test (prostate-specific antigen blood test). If your PSA levels are high your doctor may wish you to retake the test in a few weeks as a secondary check. Don’t put off seeking advice as the prognosis is very good when caught early.

Type 2 diabetes

Men are more likely to get type 2 diabetes at a lower weight than women. One of the reasons for this is that men store weight around their stomach, a known risk factor. Symptoms vary from person to person; however, the most common symptoms are a continual thirst, an increased desire to urinate and a feeling of tiredness.

These symptoms are caused by more glucose staying in the blood and not being used for energy. The body reduces this increased blood sugar by passing out the excess sugar in urine.

Help to lower blood sugar levels by following a diet of lean protein and increasing your vegetable intake. This blog shares tips on how to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance.