Men’s Health Checklist


What Men Should Do in Their 20s and 30s

A smiling man wearing a hat.

Vaccinations

  • Flu shot, every year.
  • Tetanus booster, every 10 years.
  • Whooping cough vaccine (Tdap booster) unless you’re certain you had one as a preteen or teenager.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, if you’re younger than 21 and haven’t received it yet, or if you’re younger than 26 and have sex with men.

Screening Tests

  • Sexually transmitted disease: If you’re sexually active and have sex with men, get screened at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. And all men should get tested for HIV at least once. According to the CDC, everyone between ages 13 and 64 should be tested during their lifetime. (If you have certain risk factors, you’ll need additional screenings.)
  • Blood pressure: Have it checked at least once every two years.
  • Cholesterol: Have your cholesterol tested every four to six years, depending on results. If you have heart disease or diabetes, a family history of heart disease, or other cardiac risk factors, you may need to do this more often.
  • Type 2 diabetes: If you’re overweight or obese and have one or more other risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol, have a blood test every three years, depending on results.

Review With Your Doctor

  • Sexual history and condom use.
  • Diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, and any other substance-use habits.

Men’s Health Tips

Early adulthood is an ideal time to develop an ongoing working relationship with a family or primary care doctor, Meigs says. That way, you’ll have someone you trust—and who is familiar with your lifestyle and health history—to talk to about any health concerns.

That’s important when it comes to diseases that may be uncomfortable to discuss or that don’t get regularly screened for, such as testicular cancer, Meigs says. In this case, for example, some men might ignore symptoms, and the USPSTF recommends against regular screening for the cancer because it is relatively rare and has a high survival rate.

Still, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men ages 15 to 34. If you discover a lump or have pain in a testicle, it’s important to tell your doctor.

And while the CDC’s baseline recommendations for yearly STD screenings are directed mainly at women and at men who have sex with men, Ana Fadich, M.P.H., vice president of the nonprofit health education group Men’s Health Network, says all men should consider STD testing any time they change sexual partners.

Men will need to request this screening at the doctor’s office, Fadich says, because there’s no men’s health equivalent of the well-woman visit, in which STD screenings are routine.

What Men Should Do in Their 40s and 50s

A man riding a bicycle.

Vaccinations

  • Flu shot, every year.
  • Tetanus booster, every 10 years.
  • Shingrix (shingles) vaccine at age 50.

Screening Tests

  • Sexually transmitted disease: If you’re sexually active and have sex with men, get screened at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
  • Blood pressure: Have it checked at least once every two years.
  • Cholesterol: Continue blood tests for cholesterol every four to six years, depending on risk factors and results. After 40, your doctor will use an equation to assess your 10-year risk for heart disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes: If you’re overweight or obese and have one or more other risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol, have a blood test every three years, depending on results. Otherwise, get tested at age 45.
  • Colorectal cancer: At age 45, talk to your doctor about when to begin screening for colon cancer; most people can start screening at age 50, though controversial new guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest that men consider starting at age 45. A colonoscopy every 10 years, a stool test every year, and a few other screening options are available. Ask your doctor which one may be best for you.
  • Prostate cancer: Regular prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests, which may detect prostate cancer, might not be necessary. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the test. If you’re concerned about prostate cancer, talk with your doctor at 55 or earlier about whether you’re at increased risk.

Review With Your Doctor

  • Sexual history and condom use.
  • Diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, and any other substance-use habits.

Men’s Health Tips

During these years, your cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and weight gain, might rise, Meigs says. (For more on your cardiovascular risk, see our recent report here.)

And because metabolism naturally slows with age, he says, it’s especially important for men in this age group to stay active and keep up with good eating habits. That will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce heart disease risks.

When it comes to prostate cancer screening, “That requires a conversation with your doctor,” Meigs says. In May 2018 the USPSTF updated its guidelines, and experts differ on whether men should be routinely checked for signs of the cancer using a PSA test. The USPSTF does not recommend this blood test unless men request it, after first hearing about the potential benefits and risks of being tested.

Talk with your doctor about your personal risk profile for prostate cancer; people who have a family history of prostate cancer or are African American or of African descent might be at higher risk.