We’re almost a week into 2017. According to some studies, that means a quarter of us have already bailed on a New Year’s resolution—we couldn’t even make it long enough to have a “cheat day.” But here’s one resolution you can still keep: See a doctor this year.
One of our recent surveys revealed that 18 percent of men basically never get a checkup from a doctor—a handful of guys vaguely recalled “turning and coughing” in the past decade, but a further 7 percent couldn’t remember ever having had a general checkup from a doctor. We were surprised by these findings and cross-checked them against a survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians, which confirmed our suspicions: Over half of U.S. men haven’t seen their M.D. in the past year.
Granted, going to the doctor every couple months—as 11 percent of our respondents suggested they do—may be overdoing it. A case can even be made against having annual checkups (doctors ordering unnecessary procedures, false positives, etc.). But entirely forgoing medical checkups? Bad idea.
There are 8,000 new cases of testicular cancer each year. About one in 280 American men will develop testicular cancer at some time in their lives, and it’s the most common cancer in men between 20 and 35, so that turn-and-cough line isn’t really a joke. You may feel great right now, but one-third of all heart-attack victims never have any warning, and most men who have high blood pressure don’t even know it, according to the National Institutes of Health. “If you’re under 30, you should have your blood checked by a doctor at least every three years,” explains primary care physician Dr. Marc Leavey. “Once you reach your mid-30s, you should visit your doctor every other year. And once you hit 50, you should get checked out every year. If you smoke or drink a lot, all bets are off, so you should consider going more often.”
So resolve to make a doctor’s appointment this year—or at least to figure out where your nearest doctor’s office is. That’s a start, right?