Latest News

Please view the latest news articles from across Europe below. Alternatively, filter by news category or search by keyword.

Doctors say too many men are putting off getting health exams

Published on 22 June 2017 back to previous

Men engage in more risk factors that lead to poor health, yet regularly avoid either having a primary care physician or seeing them for an annual physical exam, according to Dr. Alex Wright of Mercy Primary Care.

"Men tend to drink more, smoke more and have more compulsive behaviors," Wright said, but because of what he referred to as a "he-man culture," they often don't see a doctor.

Wright said that some men "see getting help from a doctor as a sign of weakness."

He said it is important to have a primary care doctor because "people with a primary care doctor live longer." A primary care physician builds a relationship with patients over time and can evaluate their entire clinical history and talk with them about specific risk factors and health concerns.

Wright said an effective way to persuade a man to see a doctor is to talk about finances.

"Money is the biggest driver of men's decisions," Wright said, "and seeing a doctor is an investment in a guy's health. Prevention saves money."

He said he has seen the "investment" argument work on men "in nine of 10 cases."

Another common catalyst for men to take better care of their health is becoming a father, Wright said.

Annual physical exams are covered by almost all insurance, and Wright said seeing a doctor on an annual basis is less expensive to the individual and less expensive for insurance companies.

"Early detection almost always saves money because less medication and fewer treatments are necessary," he said.

Wright said encouraging dad to lose those extra pounds or stop using tobacco products reduces the likelihood of future health problems, including cancer.

"Tobacco remains the number one preventable killer in the world," Wright said.

The American Cancer Society reports that being overweight raises a person's risk of getting 13 different types of cancer. It also estimates that one in five cancer deaths is a result of body fat, poor nutrition, physical inactivity or excess alcohol consumption.

Wright recommended men have routine health tests and screenings just like they'd have an annual eye exam or see a dentist twice a year for a cleaning.

He said men should be tested for diabetes and cholesterol by age 35 or 40, or earlier if there is a family history of either. He also suggested that by age 40 every man should start having a discussion with his doctor about the need for prostate screening.

"Usually the screening isn't necessary until age 55-70," Wright said, "but the conversation is important."

Dr. Ross Jones with Mercy Gastroenterology is working to raise awareness among men about how to prevent colon cancer. He said it is more common among men than women and advised that a person have a colonoscopy screening when they turn 50.

He said many people put off having a colonoscopy due to fear after hearing scary stories from others.

"A lot of people think 'It's colonoscopy or nothing,' but we want people to do something," Jones said.

He said a kit is available from primary care physicians to do a preliminary colon cancer screening. Medically referred to as a fecal immunochemical test, use of the kit allows people to quickly check a stool sample to determine if they have a low likelihood of polyps or cancer, or whether a colonoscopy should be considered.

He recommended the test annually for those over 50, but stressed the benefit of a colonoscopy every 10 years. "Colon cancer starts out as polyps," Jones said, "which grow very slowly and usually won't turn into anything for years."

He said preventive screenings can reveal the presence of polyps or cancer early, rather than waiting until physical symptoms arise such as abdominal pain or blood found in stool.

"If you wait until there are symptoms, you're way further down the road" and run an increased risk for colon cancer surgery and follow-up treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

This article was sourced from the Paducah Sun. Click here to read more.

Registration No: 5314195 Registered Office: 92 Palatine Road, London N16 8ST.