Could it be that it is more about the “mentality of the male” more than about the disease itself? As I have said in the book, ” The perfect storm: Story after story about the benign nature of prostate cancer (despite 25,000 deaths a year), an exam the male does not want and the doctor easily persuaded not to do.” And that my friend…is the problem.
Men Not Wearing Out a Path to the Doctor’s Office
Jul 2, 2011 – 11:11:46 AM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) – It seems the stereotype is true: Men just don’t go to the doctor unless it is absolutely necessary.
In a recent survey commissioned by and reported in Esquire magazine, nearly half of men ages 18 to 50 said they don’t have a primary-care physician, and one-third admitted they haven’t had a checkup in more than a year.
That includes prostate exams. Surprisingly, though these exams help detect prostate cancer in its early stages, about 70 percent of men have never had one. Single men were even less motivated than married men to schedule a prostate exam.
Why the hesitation?
“Men just don’t like the idea of a digital rectal exam,” says Dr. Yair Lotan, a urologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He added, however, that such exams should be part of annual physicals. “About 20 percent to 30 percent of prostate cancers are diagnosed based on the fact that the physician felt a nodule.”
About one out of every six males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men in the U.S., behind only lung cancer. Experts say early detection is the key.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/urology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for urology.
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One Reply to “Seventy percent of men have never had a rectal exam! What? Prostate cancer: The Rodney Dangerfield of diseases…It gets no respect!”
It isn’t very clear where you come up with the statistics in your article. First of all, did your statistic regarding 70% of men who have never had a rectal exam include the men from age 18 – 50 in the referenced Esquire survey? If so I would say that the percentage is lower than it should be and not cause for the alarm that you imply. Only the most stringent of recommendations goes below age 50 for this test, and almost none go below age 40 even though there is little scientific evidence to suggest that it improves outcomes.
Also, you need to qualify your statistic on the lifetime risk of prostate cancer. These lifetime risk statistics generally are calculated based on a man living to around age 90. That simply doesn’t equate to one in six men being diagnosed in his lifetime. Be careful about twisting statistics to advance your point.