That said, we asked a doctor, oncologist Eric Nadler, for simple steps men can take to be their healthiest. Nadler practices medicine at Sammons Cancer Center at Baylor University Medical Center and has a master's degree in public policy.
1. Have a primary-care physician.
Ask friends for recommendations; interview several doctors until you find one you're comfortable with. Then, no matter how good you may be feeling, have regular checkups. "Routine health maintenance and preventative measures often have a greater likelihood of mitigating illness than all other factors combined," he says. Let that doctor know immediately if you have sudden chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadedness, as well as changes in strength, stamina or mental status.
2. Pop an aspirin a day.
Do so with the approval of your newfound or longtime primary-care physician, of course; aspirin may be detrimental to some people. For others, that deceivingly complex little pill has been shown to lower mortality in the general population. It does so by preventing inflammation, which may be a major factor in the development of illnesses, from coronary heart disease to some forms of cancer.
3. Avoid the big 3: obesity, tobacco, alcohol.
"These are the three greatest drivers of illness in the United States," Nadler says. "If we could add exercise and nutrition as counter-measures, we could likely alter more lives than all of the doctors and expensive medications in Texas."
4. Think of sunscreen as macho.
Use it every day, plus avoid the sun as much as possible. Have odd-looking moles evaluated, and go to a dermatologist for regular skin checks. Sometimes the most innocent looking spots are trouble.
5. Yes, you really do need to have that test.
Colonoscopies, which most men should have at about age 50, can detect even early stages of colorectal cancer. They're not as bad as you might think. Plus, some doctors even let you take home photos of the procedure!