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Men's Health Month stresses importance of regular screenings

June is Men's Health Month
June is Men's Health Month 01:40

MIAMI - June is Men's Health Month, helping to raise awareness about the importance of primary care and prevention.

Men are less likely than women to get the preventive care they need and ultimately have a lower life expectancy than women.

"Unquestionably, women go to physicians more often than men. They go earlier in life," said Dr. Steven Lamm, the director of the NYU Langone Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men's Health.

Dr. Lamm helped create the center to put primary care, labs, specialists, and other resources all under one roof that is tailor-made for male patients to reduce barriers to care.

"A lot of men don't appreciate that you're planting the seeds of your future wellness in your 20's and 30's," said Dr. Lamm. "If you take really good care in your 20's and 30's, you have a chance of not living to 50 but living to 90 or 100."

The CDC says heart disease and cancer are leading causes of death for all men, though they are often preventable with early intervention. But a survey from the Cleveland Clinic shows that 55% of men don't get regular health screenings, and 63% of men of color.

"The earlier in your life, the earlier decade you start to prioritize your health, the better off you're going to be," said Dr. Lamm.

Dr. Lamm says an annual physical isn't necessary for all patients, but men should start seeing a physician in their 20's to establish a baseline and determine their individual needs.

Stephen Bacigalupo is one of Dr. Lamm's model patients. The 43-year-old faithfully comes for a checkup every year for a conversation and to stay on top of necessary blood work and routine testing. Bacigalupo said he is serious about his health because he wants to be there for his wife and young son. His own mother had diabetes and passed away when he was just 26.

"That's certainly in the back of my mind, because I want to do what I can to minimize any repeat of that history," said Bacigalupo.

Dr. Lamm said he thinks there's hope that more men will prioritize their health. He has seen that a younger generation of men in their 20's and 30's is more focused on maintaining general wellness.

"Just because you're feeling well, doesn't mean you are well. You weren't well a week before you have a heart attack, a week before somebody tells you you have diabetes," Dr. Lamm said. "Wellness is not the absence of illness."

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