Avoiding That Doctor’s Appointment, Guys? Here’s Why You Might Want to Reschedule
Often, a man’s self-image is built on two unsafe convictions. One is, “I never get sick,” and the second is, “I don’t need help from others.”
Refusing to admit that they can become ill and then failing to ask a doctor about their risk for health problems can be a deadly combination.
The fact is that men may be too embarrassed to talk with a doctor about reproductive health problems, too uncomfortable with the thought of colon cancer exams and too unconcerned to take the risks of smoking and other bad habits seriously. As a result, only 37 percent of men have seen a doctor in the last year.
But real tough guys don’t avoid their doctors. They take charge of their health. You can too.
Why you need to make that doctor’s appointment
These vital facts may make you think twice about avoiding your yearly physical:
- Erectile dysfunction, or ED, can be more than a relationship problem. Often, it’s a sign of a possibly deadly health issue. Two-thirds of men who have had heart attacks had ED at least three years before they felt chest pain from heart disease. The lack of blood flow linked to ED might have alerted a doctor to the larger problem.
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, but it’s highly treatable. 98 percent of men diagnosed live more than 10 years. But when prostate cancer is not diagnosed and spreads to other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate drops to 29 percent. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for U.S. men. Starting at age 50, you should talk with your doctor about pros and cons of prostate cancer testing. African-American men are at particularly high risk and should consider testing at age 40 or 45.
- Colorectal cancer risks can be partly controlled by your diet, weight, exercise and smoking or drinking habits. Your doctor can help you with lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk. And yearly fecal occult blood tests at home and a colonoscopy every five to 10 years can help catch problems in time to treat them. Check out our four reasons to get screened.
- Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema. It causes one in five U.S. deaths. Secondhand smoke kills more than 50,000 nonsmokers each year. Smoking is also expensive and can make your insurance costs go up. Your doctor can help with strategies or medication to help you quit. Or check out some options to help you quit from HAP.
Take charge of your health
Here’s how to start:
- Call your doctor now and make that annual check-up appointment.
- Ask about and make sure you get all your recommended tests and screenings.
- Educate yourself about men's health issues.
- Know your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, waist size, etc. Understanding these numbers and their relation to your health can help you work with your doctor to reduce serious risks.
- Download and print our Office Visit Checklist to bring with you to your visit.