On average, men in the U.S. can expect to live just over 73 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But several male-specific conditions can shorten your life or create long-term health problems that impact your quality of life. Here’s what you should know about these top men’s health concerns.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men. It’s responsible for one out of every four male deaths each year. To reduce your risk of heart disease, quit smoking, limit alcohol, and keep your stress, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol level under control.
Heart disease increases your risk of having a heart attack. Each year roughly 805,000 people in the U.S. die of a heart attack. Symptoms can include:
- Pain, pressure, squeezing, or discomfort in your chest.
- Pain that radiates down one arm, often on your left or in both arms.
- Jaw or back pain.
- Indigestion, stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting.
- Shortness of breath.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Cold sweat.
If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.
Your chances of surviving any type of cancer increase with early detection. Here’s what you should know about common male-specific cancers.
In 2023, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 288,300 men will receive a new diagnosis of prostate cancer. In the last decade, more men have been diagnosed with advanced stages of prostate cancer, which is harder to treat. That has doctors concerned.
Prostate cancer screening can help find prostate cancer early. But it can also lead to false positives — that is, being told you may have prostate cancer when you don’t. This can lead to unnecessary testing, treatment, and worry.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends you discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor. Depending on your risks and other health conditions, your doctor may recommend screening every two years starting:
- At age 50 if you’re at average risk and expected to live at least 10 more years.
- At age 45 if you’re at high risk. This includes non-Hispanic Black men and men with a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65.
- At age 40 if you have more than one first-degree relative with prostate cancer diagnosed before the age of 65.
For those who want prostate cancer screening, the ACS recommends the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This test looks for a protein in your blood that may indicate cancer. Your doctor may also recommend a digital rectal exam.
One in 250 men will develop testicular cancer in their lifetime. For 2023, the NCI estimates that there will be 9,190 new cases of testicular cancer and 470 deaths from the disease.
Testicular cancer most often affects young and middle-aged males. The average age at diagnosis is about 33.
There are no screening tests or scans for testicular cancer. Some doctors recommend that you examine your testicles monthly — and get a testicular exam as part of your annual checkup.
During a self-exam, you should look and feel for any hard lumps, smooth round masses, or any change in the shape, size, and consistency of your testicles. There aren’t enough studies on regular self-exams to know if they help catch testicular cancer early. And some testicular changes are normal.
For now, the ACS recommends seeing your doctor right away if you find a lump in your testicle. They can give you a complete physical and decide whether you need any tests or scans to rule out testicular cancer.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition where men can’t get or keep an erection for sexual intercourse. ED is a common problem for males, affecting roughly 30 million men in the U.S.
Some men can have ED for a short period of time. For others, it can turn into a long-term problem. Regardless of how long it lasts, ED can affect your quality of life and relationships and interfere with your ability to get your partner pregnant. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
There’s no shame in having ED. If you have ED, it’s important to talk to your doctor about treatment options that may help.