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AARP The Magazine

Dr. Oz's Health Guide for Men and Women

America's most famous TV doctor offers his prescription for living a good, long life

4 Tests Every Man Should Have by 50

Prostate

One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in men (after lung cancer). While prostate cancer most commonly occurs in men 65 or older, I recommend getting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test at age 50 for a baseline reading. While some organizations have recently cautioned against yearly PSA testing, I think the test provides essential information — and should be done annually.

healthy man dressed sharply

Do you need prostate-specific antigen testing? — Ben Baker

Colonoscopy

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and is particularly prevalent in African American men. While colonoscopy exams are recommended every 10 years beginning at age 50, those with a family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease should be tested sooner.

Skin check

A head-to-toe skin check can spot abnormalities in spots, freckles and moles that may be linked to skin cancer. Since most benign moles stop growing eventually, pay attention to new spots and to those that continue to grow or are larger than 1 centimeter.

Hearing

Hearing loss affects nearly one-third of adults over age 65, and nearly half of all adults over 75, with more men affected than women. If you're experiencing symptoms like ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or difficulty hearing, be sure to tell your doctor.

3 Good Habits You Should Adopt

Build a "mood ring"

Maintaining a strong social network is key as you age, since positive friendships have been shown to boost spirits and even improve health. Having close friends may also help ward off depression, a disease that frequently goes undiagnosed among older men.

Trust your doctor

Men tend to avoid going to the doctor, even if a symptom persists. (Women are three times as likely as men to see a doctor on a regular basis.) But toughing it out is never the answer. Remember, your doctor is your ally in health, and ignoring a symptom won't make it go away.

Take your vitamin D

Vitamin D3 is essential for bone health and has been associated with reduced inflammation, too. Because it's difficult to get enough D3 from food, I recommend taking 1,000 international units in supplement form daily, with a healthy fat to improve absorption.

2 Bad Habits You Should Drop

Sitting too much

Spending long hours at your desk and then heading for your easy chair at home can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease and premature death. Recent research shows that it's how much time you spend just sitting, even if you engage in daily exercise, that increases your risk for chronic disease.

Relying on technology

Men may be at risk for developing cognitive impairment more often than women. One surprising link to memory loss? Depending too much on external sources of memory, like cellphones. Dial at least one number by memory each day to stay sharp.

1 Health Product No Man Should Ever Leave Home Without

Sunscreen

Men over 50 are twice as likely as women to develop and die from skin cancer, so it's time to lotion up. Keep sunscreen with you at all times, and reapply it every two hours when you're out in the sun. Focus on your ears and scalp — two areas where skin cancer is more common in men than women.

Next page: 5 numbers everyone should know. »

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