V.I. Health Department Encourages Men To Get Health Screenings
CHRISTIANSTED — June is the month that all attention is on men’s preventive health care.
As part of a Congressional health education program, the month of June is celebrated throughout the United States as Men’s Health Month.
The Virgin Islands Department of Health routinely joins in this celebration and wants all our male residents to take greater responsibility for their own health by making June the month where they focus on their health and get scheduled for routine screenings.
Even if you are not in a high-risk group or have a family history of a particular disease, you still need to get regular checkups and age appropriate preventive health screenings.
Many health challenges for men and boys are preventable or can be controlled with early detection and intervention. That’s why health screenings are your best line of defense.
If you are age 50 or older, the following screenings are recommended on an annual basis: physical exams, blood pressure and urinalysis, a Chest X-Ray, an Electrocardiogram (EKG) which will test your heart’s efficiency, a rectal exam, which screens for hemorrhoids and lower rectal problems, and an annual colonoscopy that will examine the rectum and upper and lower colon for cancer.
Having an annual conversation with your doctor about mental health wellness is also recommended. Annual laboratory tests should include: Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test for prostate health, hemoccult (screens for microscopic amounts of blood in stool that could be the first sign of colon cancer), Bone mineral density tests to examine bone health, testosterone screenings (blood test), and a test for sexually transmitted diseases also known as STD’s.
A Tuberculosis skin tests is recommended every five years (if not previously exposed), Tetanus Booster (needed every 10 years). And, men should not forget to perform regular self-tests on:
1. testicles to find lumps in their earliest stage,
2. skin to find moles or early signs of skin cancer,
3. Mouth – to find signs of lesions and 4. Breasts – to find any signs of unusual lumps. While the examinations listed above should be completed each year for men over age 50, it is recommended that men age 20 and older take the following tests: physical exams, blood tests and urinalysis, and an EKG (beginning at age 30) every 2-3 years if they have not already experienced a medical problem that may signal more frequent testing is necessary.
Mental health wellness discussions with your doctor are recommended on an annual basis regardless of age.
To schedule your annual preventive screening visit, contact:
• St. Croix: Department of Health Community Health Clinics at 340-718-1311, extension 3676 or the Family Planning Clinic at 340-514-9766
• St. Thomas: Department of Health Community Health Clinics at 340-774-7477 or the Family Planning Clinic at 340-774-5256
• St. John: at the Morris F. DeCastro Clinic at 340-776-6400.