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Men: Take Charge of Your Health

Men: Take Charge of Your Health

Father’s Day is almost here and what do dads everywhere need? Good health! Dr. Mark Hsu wants fathers and all men to know they need to be more proactive about their health. As a urologist with Washington Township Medical Foundation, Dr. Hsu treats a variety of health problems that men face, including prostate and urination issues, kidney stones, and erectile dysfunction.

“The biggest issue for men is that we tend to be reactive when we seek medical care,” he says. “We wait until something doesn’t feel right. But it’s important to be proactive. Get your health screenings and stay focused on prevention.”

June is National Men’s Health Awareness month, a great time to focus on men’s health. The annual observance is held every June to raise awareness about the need for men to get regular health screenings to prevent serious health complications.

“I really encourage men to think more holistically about their health,” Dr. Hsu cautions. “I don’t believe that most men think about ‘overall wellness’ when they think of their health.”

Part of staying healthy is keeping your numbers in check. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels increase the risk for a number of health issues like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. According to Dr. Hsu, these issues can often affect a person’s urinary and sexual health. He said men should consider getting an annual exam that includes preventive screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and an AIC test to measure blood sugar.

“Lifestyle choices like exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a nutritious diet can help keep these numbers down,” he adds.

Prostate Health

The prostate is a gland that helps make semen. One in two men between the ages of 51 and 60 have an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and that number jumps to 80% of men over 70 years of age. Symptoms of BPH, such as difficulty urinating, often have a negative impact on a man’s life. If left untreated, BPH can lead to serious health concerns like urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, and bladder and kidney stones.

Dr. Hsu recommends consulting with a urologist if a man experiences any of these symptoms. He notes that there are medications that can be offered, and there are increasingly more minimally invasive procedures that can be performed to help with symptoms. For example, Aquablation therapy is a robotic procedure that uses high-pressure water to remove prostate tissue. It is performed in a hospital under anesthesia and typically takes one hour, followed by an overnight stay for monitoring. Numerous clinical studies have found men who had Aquablation therapy have a very low rate of irreversible complications such as incontinence, or erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction. Rezum is another example of a minimally invasive procedure that can be done in-office, with steam-based treatments that can help with urination and can be an appealing option for men who are physically and sexually active. Dr. Hsu also recommends cancer screenings and stresses that, “Screenings are critical when it comes to prevention.”

Cancer Screenings

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men, according to the National Cancer Institute.

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer. The test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. When to get a PSA test and how often to repeat the test may depend on risk factors for prostate cancer and whether a patient has had other prostate issues. With early detection of prostate cancer, there are a variety of options available including robotic surgery, radiation, and focal treatments.

A colonoscopy is another tool for preventing cancer. It screens for colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths among men. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends getting a colonoscopy starting at age 45.

Testicular cancer is a rarer type of cancer, but men should still do periodic self-exams for early detection. Dr. Hsu suggests men get into the habit of checking the testicles for any irregularities while in the shower and to notify a primary care physician if any abnormalities are detected.

Don’t Forget Mental Health

“I think mental health is also an underestimated and underreported issue,” Dr. Hsu notes. “We have been seeing a lot more anxiety and depression. It’s important for men to think about their mental health and not be afraid or embarrassed to seek help.”

Dr. Hsu encourages men to have a physical and mental outlet. Exercise, sports activities, and introspective activities such as meditation are not only good for your body, but can also help with mental health. Having a social network of family and friends is additionally very beneficial.

“I encourage men to be proactive rather than reactive about their health,” Dr. Hsu emphasizes. “Have a relationship with a regular health care provider who can follow you over time. They can help you get the appropriate screenings and refer you to the right resources needed.”

For information about Dr. Hsu and Washington Township Medical Foundation, visit