Preparing For Your Annual Checkup With Your Doctor

Preparing for your annual checkup with your doctor (Photo: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock)
Preparing for your annual checkup with your doctor (Photo: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock)

If you see your doctor for an annual physical, that’s a fantastic part of your health regimen, but do you use your appointments as effectively as you can? Use the chance to discuss health issues and concerns with your doctor while you have their time.

First, prepare for your visit

Consider your overall wellbeing over the last year and if you’ve noticed any difference in your weight, mood, diet, etc. If you are considering making changes to your lifestyle (perhaps adding a new fitness regimen, for example), mention this to your doctor. Your visit may be as short as 10 minutes, so being prepared with items you’d like to discuss will help maximize your time.

As for particular health concerns you might want to talk to your physician about, here are three worth chatting to them about.

Prostate and testicular cancer

While you don’t want to overlook discussing other types of cancer (especially ones in your family history), we highlight these two particular types of cancer as they are ones that only men have to concern themselves with. Prostate cancer becomes more of a concern as you age (in the mid 40s is when the number of men diagnosed jumps significantly). With regards to testicular cancer, practice self exams at home (you can ask your doctor how often they recommend) and, of course, discuss any lumps with your doctor.

Skin cancer

If you’re fair skinned and have many moles, monitoring your skin so you’re aware of any changes and, of course, wearing SPF daily is essential but asking your doctor whether you need to have an annual skin check is worth a discussion.

Your mood

Does your doctor tend to discuss how you’re feeling mentally when you see them for your annual check up? If you’re not feeling like yourself, whileit can be a difficult topic to bring up, your emotonal health is something your doctor can help you with–whether it’s by determining if there’s a physical cause at the root of it, or by referring you to a therapist who can help you work through this time in your life.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog,, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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