Every golfer wants to improve their handicap and play better on the course. Often that means hitting the driving range, working on your short game or upgrading your equipment, but keeping your own health in check is vital on and off the course. Knowing what screening you need and why it’s important will keep your health handicap at even par.

  • Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm (AAA) – Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked should have an ultrasound screening for the presence of AAA. A smoking history greatly increases the risk of an undetected aneurysm that could rupture and often leads to death.

  • Prostate Cancer – Prostate cancer accounts for 25% of all male cancers. Most cases of prostate cancer occur in men older than 50 and two out of three cases are in men over 65. The American Cancer Society recommends that men begin prostate cancer screening at age 50 with an annual digital rectal exam of the prostate and possible PSA blood test. Men at high risk, such as African-American men or those with a close blood relative who had prostate cancer before age 65, should begin screening at age 45.

  • Colorectal Cancer – Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Early detection can drastically reduce the likelihood you will die from the disease. At age 50, men and women at average risk of developing colorectal cancer should talk to their doctor about scheduling a CT colonography every five years with a colonoscopy every 10 years.

  • Diabetes – Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. If detected early enough, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and its complications. Men and women should be screened for type 2 diabetes if their blood pressure is over 135/80 mm Hg.

  • High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and other problems. There are no symptoms of high blood pressure, so the only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked at least once every two years.

  • High Cholesterol – High cholesterol causes most of the same problems as high blood pressure. Most healthy adults should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If you have a history of heart disease or diabetes or a family history of high cholesterol, you may need to get it checked more often.

  • Lung Cancer – Lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in the US. Adults from 55 to 80 who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years or more and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years have yearly low dose scans.