The guy's guide to getting a physical (1/5)

If fear of the unknown has you avoiding the doctor, get the facts on what to expect at a men's physical

By Diane Peters

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Why men need a regular checkup

When was the last time you, your father or brother had a checkup? While males should get physicals every few years from boyhood to adulthood, many don’t. Only 41 percent of men over 18 say they go for regular checkups, according to a 2011 Ipsos Reid survey sponsored by RBC Insurance.

Why? “It’s partly because of the way men relate to illness,” says Dr. Yves Talbot of the academic family health team at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. “Men are expected to be tough and ignore pain.” Most men will visit their physician when they have an infection or injure themselves, or as they age and develop health issues. But Talbot says no matter what their age or physical status, men need regular physicals. (For men under 40 with few health problems, “regular” can be as seldom as every seven years. But by age 60, they should go every two years.)

Men might also avoid getting a physical because they're not sure what it entails. While there are few set guidelines for what tests a guy should get when, here is what you can generally expect:

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