Through our blog you’ve met members of our team, from new moms to genetic counselors. In this blog, one of our male genetic counselors shares his insight on men’s health.

My 30th birthday is coming up and the only thing that comes to mind is that scene from Friends where Joey is crying:

“Why GOD Why?”

Later Joey cries, “We are all getting so old… why are you doing this to us.”

Turning 30 is a reality that I am quickly coming to terms with. The other reality is that I am not as young as I used to be and need to be more conscious of my health.

In all seriousness, this reality isn’t something that should be new to me. My mother and father, as well as my grandmother have had skin cancer. My mother had melanoma and my father has recurrent basal cell carcinoma. My grandmother on my father’s side passed away in 2010 of melanoma.

My grandfather passed away in 1987 of complications arising from prostate cancer.  It went undiagnosed for many years before he finally sought out medical attention.

It’s stories like my grandfather’s that have become a cautionary tale for all men.

With a family history of skin cancer and prostate cancer, I have higher risk of developing one or both of them. On top of that, men have a higher risk of developing melanoma than women.

So, why I have I spent the last few paragraphs walking you through my family health history and scaring you with health facts? So that you take action, mainly the men but this message applies to everyone.

It’s no secret that men tend to visit the doctors office only when something is wrong health wise and even then we tend to wait until it has reached a serious level before seeking attention. The CDC reports and it’s really not a surprise to anyone that, women are 100% more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual checkups and preventive services and because of that tend to live longer than men.

It is vitally important for me that I get screened regularly for skin cancer as it runs on both sides of my family. I also need to take preventive measures like using good sunscreen when in the sun for extended periods of time. It is also important that I monitor for certain symptoms that could be an indication of prostate problems and get my yearly check up.

None of this is rocket science, yet we men neglect our health until it’s too late. So as National Men’s Health Week kicks off, it’s essential for us to take our health seriously not only for ourselves but for our families as well.