Men’s Health Screenings Save Lives

Brent Becnel, DNP, APRN, FNP – BC

It is common for men not to visit their healthcare provider unless they are having a noticeable health problem. According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are 28% less likely to visit their provider than women, and they are 40% more likely to have skipped recommended health screenings. Men who skip tests and treatment are living shorter lives. The most important thing a man can do is to get regular health screenings.

Get Screened

It is recommended that men over the age of 40 get a blood pressure screening every one to two years, a screening for diabetes every three years and a cholesterol screening annually. Colon, prostate and lung cancer screenings are also recommended based on the patient’s history. Moreover, if you were born between 1945 and 1965 was an I.V. drug user, or received a blood transfusion before 1992, they should be screened for Hepatitis C. Screenings help medical professionals detect cancers and other health issues before signs and symptoms present. Most of these screenings can occur during the patient’s annual check-up or wellness visit.

Mental Health

Mental illness is a difficult challenge for anyone to face. It can affect men and women of any age. However, mental illness can cause different symptoms in men than in women. Men who are depressed may not cry or talk about their feelings, or hint that they’re thinking about suicide. Men with depression may try harder to hide their symptoms by becoming angry and aggressive. They may also be more prone to seek relief through alcohol or drugs.

If you are suffering from depression, treatment allows you to lead a full, productive life. It is important to seek medical attention for depression that worsens. In some cases, you may be able to resolve your problems with therapy rather than medicine. Research suggests that regular daily exercise can help relieve the symptoms of depression by releasing a chemical in the brain called endorphins. Besides exercising regularly, get plenty of sleep and eat nutritious meals with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Prevent HIV

According to the Centers for Disease Control, New Orleans and Baton Rouge are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the nation for rates of HIV cases. The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV is to know your status. Knowing your status is the first step in preventing the spread of HIV.  Additionally, early detection and treatment means an early un- detectable viral load.  The lower the viral load in the blood, the less likely it is for HIV to be transmitted.

PrEP is another way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it, to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill is Truvada, and it provides 92 to 99 percent reduction in HIV risk for HIV negative individuals who take the pill every day as directed. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, Truvada works to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. In order to qualify for PrEP, you must be tested negative for HIV.

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A native of Louisiana, Becnel grew up on Bayou Lafourche and earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Nicholls State University. In 2012, he earned his master’s degree as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) from Loyola University in New Orleans and became board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner by the AANP. In May of 2018, he earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice from Loyola University. When asked what advice he would give to his patients, Becnel says he has two reminders. “When it comes to health, preventive maintenance is less expensive than major breakdown, and, just because an issue is not talked about, it does not mean it does not exist.”

Next Generation of Prostate Care

Dr. Richard Vanlangendonck, M.D.

More than 2 million men in the United States are prostate cancer survivors. Although prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, it can often be treated successfully. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Screenings are crucial to detecting the disease while it’s still early.

Most prostate cancers are first found during a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Based on these results, your physician may schedule a biopsy to further examine your prostate. In a prostate biopsy, your prostate gland tissue is taken out with a biopsy needle. The tissue is checked to see if there are cancer or other abnormal cells in the prostate gland. Touro Infirmary is proud to introduce UroNav, a new cutting-edge option in prostate cancer detection.

What is UroNav?

The UroNav fusion biopsy system is a cutting-edge option for diagnosing prostate cancer for many patients with elevated and/or rising PSA levels. The UroNav combines pre-biopsy MR images with ultrasound technology to better detect suspicious lesions, delineation of the prostate and clear visualization of the biopsy needle.

  • Robust, 3D gland segmentation modeling.
  • Support for different biopsy approaches.
  • Display of prior biopsy core locations and data from previous procedures.
  • Elastic and rigid registration options, which allows the physician to select the registration technique best suited for the patient.
  • Quick registration adjustments, which can be made in seconds without the need to restart the fusion procedure.
  • Post-biopsy review provides multiple 2D and 3D views of the targets and biopsy core.

What are the benefits of UroNav?

  • More accurate biopsies
  • Improves accuracy
  • Reduces discomfort
  • Reduces the number of tissue samples taken
  • Improves diagnosis
  • Tumors are easily detected

Historically, urologists had a difficult time distinguishing between moderate and aggressive lesions in the prostate. UroNav is the next generation of prostate cancer detection because it accurately identifies and tests areas for more precise diagnosis.

Pints for Prostate


Dr. Richard Vanlangendonck, a board-certified urologist, fellowship-trained in minimally invasive urologic surgery, whose primary focus is on prostate and kidney cancers.

Blueprint for Men’s Health

Thomas Ewing, M.D.

Many men choose to opt out of regular doctors’ appointments, unless they are having a major medical problem. In fact, men visit physicians 28% less than women. Every year, more than 300,000 men in the United States lose their lives to cancer, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for men. The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal (colon) cancer. The most important things men can do are to get regular health screenings and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Screening tests for men

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and a smoker, you need to be screened at least once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in the abdomen.
  • Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity.
  • If you are 35 or older, have your cholesterol checked at least every two years.
  • Blood Pressure. Your blood pressure should be checked at least every two years.
  • Colorectal Cancer. If you are 50 or older, you should get screened for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested earlier.
  • If you have high blood pressure or if you take medication for high blood pressure, you should get screened for diabetes
  • Prostate screening.
  • Sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
  • Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). If you were born between 1945 and 1965, injected with drugs or received a blood transfusion before 1992, you should get screened for HCV.

Daily Steps to Health

Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. Smokers have an increased risk of lung disease, heart disease, stroke and oral cancer.

Be physically active. Try walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming or bicycling for moderate physical activity. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes.

Eat a healthy diet. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products. Also, you should include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugar.

Stay at a healthy weight. Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by activities.

Drink alcohol only in moderation. If you drink alcohol, have no more than two drinks a day. (A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounce of 80-proof distilled spirits.)

Should you take preventive medications?

Aspirin. If you are 45 or older, your doctor can help you decide whether starting an aspirin regimen to prevent a heart attack is right for you.

Vitamin D to avoid falls. If you are 65 or older and have a history of falls, mobility problems or other risks for falling, ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement to help reduce your chances of falling. Exercise and physical therapy may help as well.


  • Get the flu shot every year.
  • If you are 60 or older, get a shot to prevent shingles.
  • If you are 65 or older, get a pneumonia shot.
  • Make sure to get a shot for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Get a tetanus booster if it has been more than 10 years since your last shot.
  • Talk with your health care team about whether you need other vaccinations.

You know your body better than anyone else. Always tell your doctor about any changes in your health, including your vision and hearing.

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Click here to visit our Men’s Health Center for online risk assessments, articles and more.

Thomas Ewing, M.D. is an Urologist with Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Dr. Ewing completed his residency in Urology and General Surgery at LSU School of Medicine/Ochsner Medical Foundation. He treats numerous urological conditions with a special interest in men’s health and performance, erectile dysfunction, and kidney stones. Dr. Ewing is board certified by the American Board of Urology and treats patients at his clinic Uptown located on the campus of Touro Infirmary.

What you need to know about Prostate Cancer

What is Prostate Cancer?

Thomas Ewing, M.D.

Medicine explaining urological problems

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men following skin cancer. It begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. They can spread to distant parts of the body and affect organs. Early prostate cancer normally doesn’t cause symptoms. However, advanced prostate cancer may cause symptoms, such as blood in the urine or semen, weakness in the legs, pain in the hips or problems urinating. It’s important to get tested and detect the cancer early, when it is most easily treated.

Should I get tested?

We don’t know what causes prostate cancer but we do know the risk factors that increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. As you get older, your risk for prostate cancer increases. At age 50, every man should get tested for prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 prostate cancers occur in men over the age of 65.

Men with a close family member, father or brother, who had prostate cancer are more likely to get it. If you have a close family member who had prostate cancer at an early age, it is recommended to get tested at age 40. Prostate cancer is most common in African American men. The American Cancer Society states if you are African American and have a close relative diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is recommended to get tested at age 45.

What are the different prostate cancer screening tests?

A Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) can tell your doctor about your prostate. The PSA test is a blood test to check the level of prostate-specific antigen, a protein made by the prostate gland in your blood. You have a higher chance of having prostate cancer if your PSA level is high. However PSA level can be high with prostate infections and other prostate problems. If your PSA level is high, your physician may perform a digital rectal exam.

Moreover, a DRE can find cancer when the PSA level is not high. Your physician may do both tests depending on your risk factors. Your physician puts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate gland that may need to be tested. If your PSA level or your DRE suggests cancer, you may need a biopsy to know for sure if you have prostate cancer.

During a biopsy, a needle is put into your prostate gland and a small sample is removed. The tiny piece of your prostate is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. The biopsy takes only a few minutes, and there is no pain.

You're in excellent shape!

What are the benefits of getting tested?

One of the possible benefits of getting screened is finding prostate cancer early and getting treated before it becomes deadly. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Early detection is the best protection against prostate cancer. Also, by getting screened, you and your family can have peace of mind. The decision is yours to get tested.

FREE PSA Screening at Touro

Touro Infirmary is offering free PSA Screenings to men age 40+ between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m on Thursday, September 29 in the Foucher Room, 2nd floor. Ten minute appointment times will be scheduled with a follow-up phone call after your online registration is complete.

One of the best screening tools available for detecting prostate cancer is the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The blood test provides men with a baseline PSA value that they can then track from year to year. It can also help healthcare professionals identify potential risk and determine if they need to be followed more closely from year to year.

Results will be mailed within one week following the screening.

Click here to register.

Pints for Prostates


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ewing-tomThomas Ewing, M.D. graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 2000. He specializes in Urology and has been in practice for over 15 years.

Prostate Health: What You Need to Know

Richard Vanlangendonck, M.D.

What is a prostate?

The prostate gland is only found in men and is about the size of a walnut. Its primary function is to create fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. The gland pushes this fluid through the urethra, or the tube from the bladder, and the fluid is expelled with sperm during ejaculation, creating semen. The prostate gland is located below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and surrounds part of the urethra.

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