Standup comedians regularly joke about men and women’s health and some of the procedures that need to be done to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Mammograms, colonoscopies, and prostate checks are just a few of the jokes I have heard about.

However funny the jokes are, cancer is not a laughing matter and preventative checkups are a part of life.  These “birthday milestone rewards” need to be embraced, not ignored. Nothing in this story is meant as medical advice, only as a friendly reminder.  Any medical decisions should be discussed with your primary care advisor and respective family members.

General recommendations, that I have been told, colonoscopies should be done by the age of 45.  That is an age that was decreased a few years ago.  It used to be age 50.  Once again, I was told by my primary care advisor that this is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to screen for colon cancer.  The process is not as bad as the comedians make it sound and other than the time commitment, the procedure is painless and easy for the majority of people.  Colonoscopies are for both women and men.

Prostate exams have a different criterion and once again, should be a discussion you have with your primary care advisor. I have been advised that 45-50 is the typical age, but with the PSA blood test that may differ for each individual.

Mammograms are not a procedure I have been advised on, but Mayo Clinic supports screening beginning at age 40.  Although mammograms are typically a procedure for women, men can develop breast cancer and should therefore do self-exams.

Once again, this information should not be considered as medical advice but instead be used as an encouragement to talk to your primary care advisor about what is best for you.  Laughing at the jokes is okay and cracking a few jokes during the experience is often a great stress relief.

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