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June is National Men’s Health Month

Health Op-ed by Sparkle Wells

Sparkle Wells, health project coordinator for the Cancer Services Program of the Finger Lakes Region

June is National Men’s Health Month!

In honor of National Men’s Health Month, we would like to give you important facts so you can encourage the men in your life to pay more attention to their health. Investing in your health can be as simple as eating healthy, exercising often, and getting regular check-ups and health screenings.

Preventative care is one of the best ways to become and stay healthy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that men tend to die five years earlier and at higher rates than women.

Unfortunately, the causes of death are often due to some preventable conditions including heart disease, certain cancers and unintentional injuries. Engaging in preventative care, such as cancer screenings, could help decrease the risk of death and possibly prolong the lives of our brothers, fathers, children, uncles, loved ones and selves.

Colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer) is one of the top three cancers found in men in New York State, according to the CDC. It is also the third leading cause of death related to cancer for both men and women, but it does not have to be.

Regular colon cancer screenings can prevent colon cancer from ever starting by finding early signs of the disease, known as polyps. If polyps are found, they can be removed to prevent cancer from growing. Screening can also find cancer early, when treatment works best. Screening tests are becoming more convenient too, with at-home colon cancer screening kits becoming available through your doctor’s office or through the Cancer Services Program (CSP) of the Finger Lakes Region. These at-home screening kits work by finding small amounts of blood within the stool, which can be a sign of colon cancer. Taking care of our health today can lead to better health tomorrow.

If you know of men in your life who are 45 or older, then it is time to encourage them to get screened for colon cancer. Last year, the recommended age to begin screening changed from age 50 to 45 because younger people are being diagnosed with colon cancer more often. Everyone –please take care of your health and your family and get screened!

If you are uninsured, free at-home screening tests are available through the CSP of the Finger Lakes Region. Please call (585) 224-3070 to learn more and to find out if you qualify. The CSP is supported with funding from New York State and is managed and facilitated by UR Medicine’s Center for Community Health & Prevention. Please encourage all of the men in your life to form healthy habits that can lead to a longer, healthier life.

In good health,
Sparkle Wells

~ Sparkle Wells is the Health Project Coordinator for the Cancer Services Program of the Finger Lakes Region.