Men less likely than women to go to the doctor
You’re not sick till your MD says so, so males steer clear of checkups
The below article is fact…men go to doctors less likely than women. In the case of prostate cancer, a rectal exam complicates a difficult situation further. You won’t see this written anywhere and I am not saying it is cost-effective, but one benefit of the PSA test is that it can be easily added on to an annual exam panel of blood work. If a male declines a rectal exam, the PSA is at least something that can indicate a prostate problem. Is it perfect no,( better than no prostate assessment at all) but in my practice I see men all the time that have never had a rectal exam but that “my PSA’s have always been normal.” Is that ideal, again no, but most men are aware of prostate cancer because of the PSA and will consent to that test when they may be reluctant to have that ” unnatural exam.”
A big part of the disease that is prostate cancer and the failure of early detection in prostate cancer has a lot to do simply with the mindset of the male. Pure and simple. And that (an unintended consequence) is why screening is good, it helps overcome the male related “mind” issues that males have about doctors in general and rectal exams in particular. And that is a good thing.
By Jim Gibson, Canwest News Service July 8, 2010 Be the first to post a comment
Regular testing gives the doctor a health baseline.Photograph by: John McKay, Times ColonistMen shy away from medical checkups, according to a U.S. study. It’s a finding local general practitioners don’t dispute.
Just 57 per cent of men, compared to 74 per cent of women, had had a routine medical checkup within the past 12 months, according to a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” general practitioner Chris Pengilly says, estimating women comprise 60 per cent of his appointments. GP and author Dave Hepburn says female patients outnumber men among his 20- to 50-year-olds.
Both doctors find men start showing up — reluctantly — in their 50s for prostate-cancer testing. They often claim it wasn’t their idea to book an appointment.
“A lot of men say, ’I’m here because my wife wanted me to come,’ ” Hepburn says. He has even heard of men seeing a doctor as a “gift” to their wives.
Why women outnumber men comes down to their familiarity with routine testing and men’s general aversion to doctors’ offices.
Women are used to coming for such tests as pap smears and mammograms. For men, routine testing is “quite foreign,” Hepburn says. Yet regular testing for prostate cancer, diabetes and colon cancer gives their doctors a baseline to note any changes.
Besides, men might have to pay for the prostate-specific antigen test, which, unlike pap smears and mammograms, is not automatically covered by their provincial health plans, according to Pengilly.
Men might find medical appointments more enticing if doctors’ offices had plasma TVs and beer, jokes Hepburn, a published humourist.
“They are not places of good news. The only news you get there is bad news. So why go in the first place?” he suspects is the rationalization.
Men are more likely to embrace stoicism than women, according to Hepburn.
“They like to think of themselves as omnipotent and ’disease won’t get me,’ ” Pengilly says. The rationalization is: If you can’t touch it or feel it, a medical problem doesn’t exist.
They are also scared, he adds. “You don’t have cancer until the doctor tells you you do.”
Men prefer to keep their heads in the sand about possible medical complications, according to Hepburn. “I’d just as soon not know what that lump is,” they think.
Besides, many think whatever it is will go away — a phrase Hepburn labels “the most dangerous words in medicine.”
If you’re young and healthy, you probably don’t need to see a doctor, Hepburn says. However, just as cars need regular checkups as the mileage ramps up, so do men as they pile on the years.
What usually brings a man into his office is the sudden death or potentially fatal diagnosis of a friend, colleague or family member.
“It’s a shot across the bow,” Hepburn says, adding, “Fear is a great motivator.”
2 Replies to “oh that men were women when it comes to prostate cancer!”
This is so true! It sounds like my husband to a “T”. He used to say, “What if I go to the doctor, and he says I only have two months to live.” And he refused a prostate exam yearly. I finally talked him into the PSA and he agreed to it for the very reason you state. This was last November, and his PSA was 19. Now I’m just hoping that all the cancer is gone, and wishing that somehow I had got him to the doc sooner.
Better too early than too late. Prostate cancer can be a killer and a very nasty one at that.
Gentlemen suck it up and go for your tests.
As a woman I can assure you that it infinitely a kinder and less intrusive examination than a digital rectal examination (DRE). Any gentleman willing to trade tests with me I’ll take it.