Doctors have a difficult task in front of them – getting American men to see a doctor.
It’s well-known and unsurprising that men are less apt to see a doctor regularly than women. However, what is surprising and alarming are the results from an online survey of almost 900 men aged 18 and older. The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Orlando Health, found that 65% of American men believe they are healthier than other men, and 33% believe that annual physicals are not necessary and a waste of time. In addition, 38% of men surveyed admitted to getting their health information from social media, which is always risky if the source is not reputable. These assumptions back up the mantra many men live by of “don’t fix it until it’s broke,” creating a health predicament when a major health condition is diagnosed at a later, less treatable stage, increasing their mortality at a younger age.
Men’s attitudes toward good health are concerning.
When men fail to schedule yearly physicals or ignore concerning symptoms, it sets the stage for developing advanced, life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, prostate or colon cancer, or kidney disease, cutting years off their life. Unfortunately, men tend to put their health last on their to-do list. As long as they keep working and being productive, they often don’t consider the health risks their neglect causes. Whether men avoid doctors based out of fear of the unknown of what might be found or wanting to stick their head in the sand, they’re taking a gamble with their health.
This is where doctors can learn a thing or two from women – we need to think differently about how we care for men in America. When we are proactive, the men that doctors care for will always get a better return on the investment in their health which should be every doctor’s goal. Women approach healthcare the right way – take good care of themselves before health issues happen. Studies have found women are more likely to see out healthcare than men are. Men can learn a thing or two from women in this respect.
Women tend to take a more proactive approach because they have built relationships with their physicians – they see them more frequently during their reproductive years and are accustomed to screenings like Pap smears and mammograms. On the other hand, men tend to feel uncomfortable about screenings, often resisting routine invasive exams such as digital rectal exams and checking for prostate cancer. But men that wait until symptoms get worse is not a good health plan.
A nationwide effort to encourage, convince, motivate, or whatever it takes to get men into the doctor’s office for their yearly physicals or when concerning symptoms arise should be in place. Men miss out on years spent with their family and friends when they fail to take charge of their health. By educating men about healthy eating from registered dietitians, fitness advice from physical therapists, reducing stress naturally with mental health counselors, and then combining this information with having annual physicals, men will see significant results over time.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.