Men’s Health Resources for Our Nurses

In celebration of our DNA Day Webinar on April 12th, we have compiled a list of different resources on men’s health for different topics. We are proud of our compiled list and hope they serve you and your clients in a fruitful way!

Men & Cardiovascular Disease:


Men & Cancer:

Every year, more than 300,000 men in the U.S die from cancer.

  • The most common types of cancer among men in the U.S are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer:  1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. The chances of getting prostate cancer go up as a man gets older.
  • Lung Cancer: Lung cancer accounts for 27% of all cancer deaths, making it the leader in cancer deaths.
  • Colorectal Cancer:  For men, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death.
  • Skin Cancer: Anyone who spends time in the sun can develop skin cancer. People with fair skin, especially those with blond or red hair, are more likely to get skin cancer than people with darker coloring.


Men & Mental Health

Men and Depression:

While clinical depression was once considered a “woman’s disease,” more than 6 million men in the U.S. are diagnosed with depression each year.

Men & Suicide:

  • Depressed men are 4x as likely to commit suicide.
  • Depressed men ages 20-24 are 6x as likely to commit suicide as women.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst people aged 25-34.


Men & Nutrition & Exercise

  • Males of all ages can benefit from eating a balanced and varied diet, getting enough calcium, avoiding high fat and sugar content (like fast food), drinking six 8-ounce glasses of water, and exercising daily.
  • 34.6% of men 20 years and over are obese
  • Inactive males have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.





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2016 DNA Day Materials are Here!

After months of hard work, the Illinois Department of Health and the Center for Jewish Genetics are proud to present these DNA Day 2016 materials to you. Please contact William Haben at for any questions on how you can obtain physical copies.


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DNA Day 2016: A Hearty Look at Men’s Health

The Center for Jewish Genetics coordinated with the Illinois Department of Public Health and iNet (Illinois Network for Education and Training) to provide this year’s Professional Education Activity. Please click on the link below to view the 2016 DNA Day webinar: A Hearty Look at Men’s Health.

Join us on April 12th at 12:00 pm by registering here:



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Familial Risk vs. Hereditary Risk

By Karen Litwack, Angelique Mercier, and William Haben

Diseases that run in families are often connected to certain genes. Some diseases, such as Tay-Sachs disease, are based on single gene mutations, while others are based on a combination of genes, lifestyle and environmental factors. Many genetic mutations occur more frequently in specific ethnic groups (like Ashkenazi Jews) than in the general population, so knowing your family history, as well as your parents’ and grandparents’ ethnicity and your ancestors’ countries of origin, can help family members determine whether they are at risk for certain diseases.

Why is determining your level of risk important? Because depending on the disease and your risk level, you may meet standards for more frequent or different methods of prevention/ screening. The two risk levels are familial risk, which means that you have a slightly higher chance of getting the disease (2 to 3 times) because someone in your family has been affected and hereditary risk, which means you have a much higher chance of getting the disease (up to 50 – 100%) than people in the general population because your risk is based on gene mutations inherited directly from either one or both parents.

This is why it is so important to collect as much family history information as possible. The idea of familial risk takes into account not only shared genes and genetic information, but also shared environment and lifestyle factors.  The risk for an individual to develop cardiovascular disease is higher if there is a history of these diseases already in the family.  For example, familial risk is seen in the following way: if you have a brother or sister with cardiovascular disease (CVD), your risk may be up to 45% higher to develop cardiovascular disease than if you did not have a brother or sister with CVD.

An example of hereditary risk is an inherited condition called Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). Individuals with FH have very high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in their blood, which can lead to premature cardiovascular disease and associated complications, if left untreated.  FH is caused by a change in a gene (called a mutation), that is passed down from someone’s mother or father in an autosomal dominant manner.  This meant that if an individual has just one copy of the gene mutation, they will develop FH.  An individual with FH has a 1 in 2 (or 50%) chance to pass it down to their children.  If an individual inherits an FH-causing mutation from both their mother and their father, they will develop a more severe form of FH.  If diagnosed early, individuals with FH can be monitored and treated through both medication and lifestyle changes (such as not smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet), which helps delay or prevent serious complications associated with high cholesterol levels, which can include heart attacks and strokes.  FH is more common in certain populations, including Ashkenazi Jews, French Canadians, Lebanese, and South African Afrikaners.

For cardiovascular disease, as well as many other health conditions, you not only need to consider family health history and background, but also personal risk factors, such as your environment and/or lifestyle, to determine your risk. A genetic counselor can help you calculate your chance of being affected by a wide range of diseases and work with your healthcare team to create a personalized plan for the next steps to maximize your health and the health of your family.

To find a genetic counselor near you, please visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors (

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Tips For a Healthy Heart

Take a look at some not-so-common tips for keeping your heart healthy as the new year is underway! heart-health-infographic

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Thanksgiving is Family Health History Day!

As we prepare for the upcoming holidays, it is important to note that Thanksgiving is National Family Health History day. Take a moment to read about the importance of family health history and how you can take advantage of the holidays to learn more about yours! 2015 FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY CARD

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Questions about newborn screening? Check out this article!

Do you, a family member, or a friend have questions about newborn screening? Check out this link below for frequently asked questions about newborn screening procedures. We think you will find it extremely helpful:

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