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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Urge Men to Prioritize Their Health and Stay on Track with Annual Exams

In observance of Men’s Health Month this June, Atrium Health Navicent physicians encourage men to make their health a priority by staying on track with annual exams and cancer screenings.

Some cancers, such as colorectal cancer, are more commonly diagnosed in men than women. Colorectal cancer, a combined term for colon cancer and rectal cancer, is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 23 for men in the U.S. The ACS estimates that in 2023 there will be 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer, leading to 52,550 deaths.

The death rate from colorectal cancer is particularly high in central Georgia, at 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 13.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

The good news is that many cancers, such as colorectal cancer, can be detected early through screenings. The first step is to schedule an annual exam with your primary care physician.

“It’s easy to get busy juggling family, work and other parts of life and put your health on the back burner. Men’s Health Month is a great time to prioritize your health by scheduling a visit with your doctor and following up on any prescribed screenings,” said Dr. David Armstrong, an Atrium Health Navicent colorectal surgeon. “If you do have cancer, the earlier we can catch it, the easier it is to treat and you’re more likely to have a favorable outcome.”

At your annual exam, it’s important to have your blood tested and your vital signs checked. A physical gives you an open forum to discuss any symptoms you might have, such as chest pain, decreased tolerance for exercise, breathing issues, sleeping issues or any other concerns.

A health area that sometimes goes ignored by men is anxiety and depression. Men are just as likely to struggle with these conditions and 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide, despite being reported less often. Always let your doctor know if you’re experiencing mood swings, high stress levels, a change in appetite, sleep habits or lack of hygiene.

An annual exam is also a good opportunity to discuss your family medical history with your doctor. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer, you’ll want to make this clear to your physician as this history can affect when you get screened for these diseases.

For individuals of average risk, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 45 and continuing until age 75. However, you may need to start getting tested before age 45, or more often than other people, if you have inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.

Screening for colorectal cancer can be accomplished with a colonoscopy at Atrium Health Navicent Surgery Macon.

During this endoscopic procedure, a scope is used to examine your colon from end to end, looking for any signs of growths or polyps. Polyps can be removed during this procedure to prevent the development of colon cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, physicians at the Atrium Health Peyton Anderson Cancer Center are available to provide multidisciplinary, integrated and comprehensive care. Atrium Health Navicent holds accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, and provides patients with peace of mind that they are receiving the best possible care. The cancer center was the first in Georgia to receive NAPRC accreditation.

To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well- being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.