This blog post is part of the Google+ Healthy Hangouts series of breaking and timely health news.
Recently, David Winter, MD, Rainer Khetan, MD, and Roger Khetan, MD, all internal medicine physicians on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, sat down to discuss the age old question: “Why is it so hard to get men to go to the doctor?”
While there’s no easy answer, many men seem to have the attitude, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” In other words, they’ll only go to the doctor if they get sick. That’s a big mistake, according to all three of these highly experienced physicians.
An Ounce of Prevention
The incidence of heart attack, stroke and many kinds of lethal cancer are decreasing largely because the medical community is able to identify risks and disease processes in earlier stages when they are much more treatable.
But an annual visit to the physician is essential to staying on track with preventive tests and measures. For instance, a colonoscopy once a decade after age 50 is crucial to preventing colon cancer, especially since symptoms of colon cancer often don’t appear until late in the disease process.
Also, Dr. Roger Khetan says it’s not uncommon for men who appear to be healthy and in good shape to come to his office only to find out that their cholesterol is sky high, greatly increasing their risk of heart disease.
At the Office
For men who do see a physician for a check-up, it’s important that their physician give them an opportunity to talk. Often, it’s during a discussion before or after the actual exam when men share some of their true health concerns.
To get the most out of a visit to the doctor’s office, there are certain questions men and women need to ask, according to Dr. Winter:
- What do I need to be doing to manage my health?
- When do I need to come back?
- What do I need to be looking for in regards to potential health problems?
Yes, It’s Necessary
Getting a prostate exam is something that even male physicians often have a hard time bringing themselves to do. Most men would rather opt for only a PSA test – a blood test that can identify the possible presence of prostate cancer.
While a PSA test is important, it’s not perfect. Therefore getting a regular prostate exam after a certain age is necessary as well, especially if there is a family history of the disease.
Whether it’s avoiding a prostate exam or just avoiding a check-up, many men need to get over their allergy to the doctor’s office, if not for themselves, then for their family and loved ones.
Watch the entire Hangout below.