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Health Screenings for Older Black Men

By on July 18, 2016

If you are lucky enough to live long, healthy life you have probably been taking care of yourself physically and mentally. In fact, did you know one in three older adults get all recommended health screening measures?

This is very, very  troubling as Black males are disproportionately negatively impacted by many health disparities.

So here are nine really, really, really important health screenings we recommend for men age fifty and above. 

Recommended Health Screenings

Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many years. There is no single test for prostate cancer. All the tests used to help diagnose the condition have benefits and risks, which your doctor should discuss with you. Get screened.

Colon Cancer. Men age 40-75 should get a screening test for colorectal cancer, especially if there is a family history. Several different tests—for example, a stool test or a colonoscopy—can detect this cancer. If you are between the ages of 76 and 85, talk to your doctor about whether you should continue to be screened.

Depression. Racial stressors and micro aggressive behavior can ignite depressive symptoms. Black and other males may not openly discuss emotional well-being but it’s key to know  the signs of depression especially if during the last 2 weeks:

  • You have felt sad or hopeless.
  • You sleep significantly more than typical; listless behavior.
  • You have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things.

Diabetes. Get screened for diabetes (high blood sugar) with a blood test if you have high blood pressure or take medication for high blood pressure. Type-2 diabetes can cause problems with your heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.

High Blood Cholesterol. Have your blood cholesterol checked regularly with a blood test. High blood cholesterol increases your chance of heart disease, stroke, and poor circulation.

High Blood Pressure. Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. High blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney and eye problems, and heart failure.

HIV. It’s important to get screened for HIV as long as you are sexually active, including in your fifties. Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to be diagnosed with HIV infection later in the course of their disease.

Lung Cancer: Talk to your physician about getting screened for lung cancer if you are 55 or over and especially if you have a smoking history or have quit within the past 5 years.


Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Get screened one time for HCV infection if:

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965.
  • You have ever shared needles for any reason (tattoos, piercings, etc.).
  • You received a blood transfusion before 1992.

Additional health protections for older men include a yearly flu shot and shots for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Get a tetanus booster if it has been more than 10 years since your last shot. Stay on top of these screenings and vaccinations and you will likely increase your quality of life.