Many Men Don't Want to Talk about Their Health; Ignorance May Be Bliss; It Also Means No Life-Saving Digital Rectal Exam

By Firger, Jessica | Newsweek, September 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

Many Men Don't Want to Talk about Their Health; Ignorance May Be Bliss; It Also Means No Life-Saving Digital Rectal Exam


Firger, Jessica, Newsweek


Byline: Jessica Firger

Updated | Physicians often bemoan how challenging it can be to get male patients thinking about the health of their colon, heart and prostate--and then do something to avoid a health crisis later in life. Most young, healthy guys rarely stress out over ED or the Big C, and when it comes to medical issues, especially preventive medicine, men would rather remain avoidant than face a colonoscopy head--no, bottom--on.

According to a new survey of 500 men conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, way too many male patients have no idea when or how frequently to undergo routine life-saving tests. This includes even the easy ones, like having your blood pressure taken at a doctor's office or getting your cholesterol checked. More than half didn't know the recommended age to start routine heart disease screening. (For the record, the American Heart Association says a man should get their ticker checked beginning the third decade of life.)

For many, the problem is ignorance--if you don't know what a urologist is, you're unlikely to make an appointment to see one. Nearly 20 percent of millennial-age men and about 7 percent of baby boomers in the survey have no clue what a urologist is.

"Education is one key, that's probably the most important thing," says Dr. Eric Klein, chairman of Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, who helped conduct the study. "But some of it is fear, and some of it is not wanting to be bothered." Klein and his fellow researchers found 40 percent of men don't go for annual checkups.

This is not to say that men are completely unconcerned about health (44 percent worry about heart attacks and 42 percent said they'd like to avert a run-in with cancer if at all possible). …

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