Doctors recommend an array of health screenings for both genders, especially as Father Time ticks and tocks. But in between mammograms and prostate checks, you should conduct self–exams at home. Keep tabs on your health with these simple inspections that could mean the difference between life and death:
- Scan your skin. Check moles monthly to monitor any changes in color, size, regularity, or number — even slight alterations can signal a cancerous growth. And look for other changes like splotchy areas or bumps, especially on the back of your arms — sandpapery patches can be a sign of an omega–3 deficiency, which can contribute to cardiovascular problems.
- (For women) Record your menstrual cycles. While most women don’t have the so–called 28–day norm, cycles that fall outside the typical 21– to 35–day range can indicate an underlying problem — such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, or fibroids. It’s also important to monitor changes in flow, as heavier or more frequent periods suggest hormonal imbalances. And don’t forget those monthly breast checks.
- (For men) Conduct testicular screenings. Testicular cancer is actually the most common cancer among men ages 15–34, so be diligent about monthly inspections to catch abnormalities. And while extremely rare, breast cancer does develop in men, especially those over 60. Pay attention to lumps, dimpling, puckering, or changes in size, shape, or contour of each breast.