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Men's Health Week: Regular Screenings Can Save Lives in Missouri

June 15, 2009

ST. LOUIS, Mo - During this week leading up to Father's Day, families can help dad celebrate a healthy lifestyle by making sure he has regular screenings for health conditions affecting men. Some, such as prostate and testicular cancer, can be fatal. It's National Men's Health Week, a good time to raise awareness that many men's diseases can be prevented or treated if found early.

The good news is many of the diseases men face can be prevented or treated if found early. Sara Hamilton with Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is raising awareness about that and trying to change mindsets.

"Unfortunately, men tend to put off routine checkups, ignore symptoms, and they often have that mentality of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'"

Other major health risks men face include colon cancer, heart disease and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). All of them can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 19 million new STD infections occur each year, and many people may not even know they're infected. The biggest problem, Hamilton point out, is that often there are no symptoms.

"Sometimes you don't know what's going on, and if those infections go without being treated they can cause infertility down the line."

If left untreated, some STDs, like syphilis, can be fatal. There's also concern the STD will be passed between partners - all the more reason to get screened, Hamilton says.

More information is available from Erin Meyer at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, 314-531-7526 ext. 336.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO