Spotlight on Men’s Health

In general, men and women have different attitudes about health. Men tend to put off regular checkups and medical care more so than women. When they finally do see a doctor, men are more likely to have a serious health condition. That is one reason why in the United States, on average, men can expect to live five fewer years than women.

Men can take charge of their health by scheduling regular checkups to keep up with the activities they enjoy. Sutter Health Plus covers wellness visits at no out-of-pocket cost. Regular checkups can help men manage their health and identify any health conditions early. If conditions are found when they first develop, more treatment options may be available for the best chance of recovery. Here are some health issues men may want to discuss with their provider at their next appointment.

Prostate Cancer
This cancer occurs in the prostate—a walnut-sized gland located in a male’s pelvis that makes seminal fluid. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. If detected early, it can be treated and cured in most cases. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that most men beginning at age 55 start discussions with their doctor about whether they should receive screening for prostate cancer. Regular screening is not recommended for men who have average risk. The risk is higher in African Americans and those with a family history of prostate cancer, so the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends starting these discussions earlier at age 45.

Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common health problem in older men and sometimes occurs in younger men. This condition is the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. In some cases, this condition can be caused by atherosclerosis—a narrowing of the arteries caused by a build-up of fats and other substances that limits blood flow. Atherosclerosis is also a common cause of heart attacks—the leading cause of death for men. So ED may be the first sign that you are at risk for a heart attack. To try to prevent ED, men should control their risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer develops in the testicles, which produce sperm. While this type of cancer is rare overall, it is the most common cancer in 15- to 34-year old men. You may remember that Lance Armstrong, the former pro Tour de France cyclist, had testicular cancer at age 25. Fortunately, it is highly treatable. The USPSTF does not recommend regular screening for testicular cancer because the benefits are not proven. However, the ACS recommends discussing testicular exams with your doctor during routine checkups.

Men typically experience depression differently than women. Men prefer not to talk about their feelings and tough it out. They may instead express feelings of anger, drink or use drugs. Men are less likely than women to ask for help. Depression can be deadly if left untreated. Treatments include talk therapy and prescription drugs. Talk therapy can be helpful to get a different perspective on problems and useful advice on managing feelings differently.

Sutter Health Plus members may self-refer for telehealth appointments from participating behavioral health providers through U.S. Behavioral Health Plan, California (USBHPC). Members who use telehealth for mental health services will have no cost share from April 1 through December 31, 2020. Learn more at or call USBHPC at 855-202-0984.

Sources: ACS, American Heart Association, Harvard Health Publishing, Mayo Clinic, CDC, Medline Plus,, USPSTF

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