Ask the Expert: Visiting the Doctor

Kevin Considine, DO
Dr. Kevin Considine, a family medicine doctor affiliated with Sharp, answers frequently asked questions about what men can expect at a typical doctor's visit and how to best prepare.

How can I make the most of my doctor's visit?
I think it’s important as always to bring any and all questions that you have. It’s always important to bring in any kind of concerns or anything, any changes that have occurred in your health throughout the year. I often find that men are often a little more reticent to come to a physician’s office — and oftentimes come less prepared. But it’s always a good idea to bring a list of questions with you. It’s always easy to forget any of the kinds of concerns or issues that you have and not remember to ask about all of them during your visit.

When should a prostate exam be done?
Prostate exams, if you are having some issues from a urological standpoint or with difficulty urinating or any kinds of issues like that, prostate exams should be done sooner rather than later. But as a rule, from age 45 on, men should have not only had annual prostate exam done but also have a PSA, or prostate specific antigen blood test done. Doing both tests together is a much more comprehensive and better way to pick up prostate cancer early on.

How important is it to bring a medication list?
It’s always helpful for us to know exactly which medications you are taking and how often do you take them. It’s often a good idea, and I tell all my patients this, to make a list and carry it with you, perhaps in your wallet or purse and that way, you’ll always know in case something should occur medically or emergently. 

What else should I bring with me?
If you don’t know what your immunization history is, as is often the case, when insurances change and you’ve physicians or you’re a military family that you move a lot, it’s always a good idea to carry any copies that you have of immunization cards with you and have multiple copies. It’s easy to lose what you may have at home sometimes. And having your own master records is a good way to make sure that information is not lost or not complete.

For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's men's health services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about men's health, visit Men's Health in Adult Health or read the Men's Health News archive.