It appears that young men are great at avoiding the doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 58.5 percent of men between the ages of 19 – 25 years have visited a physician in the past 12 months compared to 81.3 of women in the same age range. Though young men are more likely to avoid the doctor, there are many detrimental symptoms they should never disregard. Here are four health symptoms young men should never ignore.
1. You feel a lump in your testicle.
The National Cancer Institute reported that testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men between the ages of 15 to 34 years. Worldwide, the rate of testicular cancer has doubled in the last 40 years, currently accounting for one percent of all cancers. Though the American Cancer Society recommends patients to talk to their doctors about a prostate cancer screening by the age of 50, there is growing research that men could check for prostate cancer at a younger age.
2. You find a growing mole on your skin.
Research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that young men between the ages of 15 to 39 account for 40 percent of malignant melanoma cases, but more than 60 percent of all melanoma deaths. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun's or tanning bed’s ultraviolet rays.
3. You are feeling depressed.
Many men avoid getting help when they are feeling hopeless and lethargic because they may feel loved ones would consider them weak. Others may not even realize their depression is a clinical problem. They often try to “man up” and attempt to manage mental stress, with usually harmful self-help remedies. A few examples of psychological stressors include, but are not limited to, the following: financial constraints, job insecurity, simultaneous health problems, and social isolation. Unfortunately, some men may feel suicide is the only way to relieve themselves from these stressors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, an individual commits suicide on average every 12.8 minutes. Across all countries reporting (except China and India) males show a suicide rate that is 3.0 to 7.5 times that of women.
4. You struggle having or keeping an erection.
Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common among younger men than was previously thought. They reported erectile dysfunction might affect 26 percent of adult men under the age of 40. Almost half of these men suffered from severe ED. In addition, younger patients with ED may smoke or use drugs more often than older men with the same problem. ED may be a result of other underlying causes such as psychological stress, depression, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and medications.
One of the motivations for the Affordable Care Act was to allow individuals under the age of 26 to be allowed on their parents’ insurance plan with the hopes to decrease emergency care visits, since emergency care is more expensive. Recent health care changes may encourage more young men to receive regular medical treatment. Proper exercise, diet, and sleep are key ways to maintain a healthy body; however, regular physician checkups are recommended.
Written by Stephen Umunna
Kirzinger, W. K., Cohen, R. A., & Gindi, R. M. (2012). Health Care Access and Utilization Among Young Adults Aged 19-25: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–September 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Health. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1-10.
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Fisher, D. E., & Geller, A. C. (2013). Disproportionate burden of melanoma mortality in young US men: The possible role of biology and behavior. JAMA dermatology, 149(8), 903-904.