Tallahassee—The Florida Department of Health recognizes June 12-18 as National Men’s Health Week, which serves as a time to heighten the awareness of preventable health conditions and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. During this time, men are encouraged to make healthy choices that will lead to longer and healthier lives.

“This week, encourage the men in your life to take charge of their health by visiting their health care provider for age-appropriate screenings that can help detect diseases earlier when they are easier to treat,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. “As we celebrate Father’s Day, men can set a good example for their loved ones by making their health a priority.”

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death among men. Because prostate cancers usually grow slowly, most are found through routine screening. Men over the age of 50, African-American men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer have a greater risk for developing prostate cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is recommended for boys at 11 or 12 years old. The HPV vaccine can protect against penis and anal cancers in men.

An annual rectal exam for men beginning at age 20 is recommended to identify colon or prostate cancer or other lower rectal problems. Some health care providers may recommend an annual Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test for men over the age of 40. Higher PSA levels in the blood can indicate the possibility of prostate cancer, but many factors can affect PSA levels. Abnormal PSA results may require a biopsy to determine if cancer is present.

Having a regular check-up with a doctor is the best way to find diseases early on when they are more treatable. By scheduling an annual physical and by making healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting tobacco, making smart food choices, moving and stretching throughout the day, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep, men can reduce their risk of contracting preventable illnesses.

The department takes a comprehensive approach in implementing cancer control efforts to reduce the disparities, morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. To learn more about the department’s cancer control efforts, please visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/cancer/cancer-control-florida.html