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Dr. Kelli T. Wells is a certified family physician and the director of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County. Dr. Wells graduated from Florida A&M University and the University of Florida College of Medicine. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of County Health Officials, and the National Association of City and County Health Officials, the Board of Directors of Partnership for Child Health, and serves as the co-chair of the Public Health Committee of the Duval County Medical Society.

June is Men’s Health Month

  • Men’s health issues don’t affect only men; they have a significant impact on everyone around them.
  • Women live longer than men, they see their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands suffer or die prematurely. Depending on where you live in Duval County, women may see as much as a 15 year difference in life expectancy over men.
  • Many health issues are preventable and women are in a unique position to be able to help address the obstacles men face in living healthier lifestyles.
  • Women should engage men on health issues and discuss responsible sexual health, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, knowing your numbers (BP, glucose, Cholesterol, PSA), skin cancer, etc.
  • Women may be more familiar with visits to physicians and are aware of the need to visit a health care provider regularly.
  • For example, doctors suggest that men begin getting annual Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests in their forties, men in their twenties can take advantage of free health screenings to form good habits and build trust with their physician.
  • Find out whether he is more comfortable seeing a male or female health care provider and make sure he’s seeing the one he prefers.
  • Mothers should encourage their sons to engage in an active lifestyle, beyond high school sports.
  • Moms should serve and introduce a variety of healthy food options to their family.
  • Moms shouldn’t be shy when talking to their sons about responsible sexual health. Many boys want to have conversations with their mom. They are under pressure to engage in sexuality at a young age; let them know that abstinence is an option. Talk to them about making positive choices, being responsible; taking advantage of the teen health clinics at select area schools.
  • Moms can also talk to their sons about violence (staying out of trouble) & teen dating violence.

For more information, visit menshealthnetwork.org

Dr. Wells answered your questions:

At what age is it necessary for a woman to start getting colonoscopies?

At age 50, unless there is a family history of colon cancer.

Doctor, what should a physical consist of for a 36-year-old adult male?

Blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), complete physical exam, and screening blood tests for cholesterol and blood sugar.

Do men in prisons and jails need annual physicals?

Yes.

My husband is 63 and very afraid of doctors because his dad died of prostate cancer and his brother is dying from cancer. How can I make him see the importance of him going to the doctor?

Some men don’t go because they don’t want to find out there is anything wrong. Point out to him that the earlier a problem is found, the greater the likelihood of things being treatable.  That fear is precisely what cause men to be diagnosed very late in the disease process, when treatment is more difficult and less likely to be successful. And choosing the right doctor is key.

My mother is the one I can’t convince to go to the doctor. She has been complaining about knee pain for over 2 years and refuses to see anyone. What canI do to get her to see a physician?

If and when the knee pain gets severe enough, she is likely to want to go. Concentrate on getting her to go to a doctor so that she can stay healthy. Ask everyone you know for a recommendation about a compassionate physician that she will have a good experience with.

Is colorectal cancer preventable?

In many cases, yes.  Most colon cancers develop from polyps (growths in the colon that are not cancerous to start). During colonoscopy, polyps are removed and this can prevent them from progressing to cancer.

How can my husband find a doctor in the Buffalo, N.Y. area? We just relocated.

Do a search for the local medical society – those organizations typically maintain an up-to-date directory of physicians. Then look at the online profiles of the physicians you are considering. Finally, get personal recommendations if you can.

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