June is Men’s Health Month. Too often, it seems that male-related awareness campaigns fail to gain the same media attention as those for our female counterparts. Every October, pink becomes the most popular accessory color for most professional athletes and workplaces. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer and supporter in increasing awareness and funding across the board—I just feel that more attention could be spent on males.
Testicular cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, heart attack, and stroke are all prevalent conditions for males. For example, testicular cancer is the leading cancer in men 15-35 years of age. In this age group, more men will die of testicular cancer than women of breast cancer. The good news is that testicular cancer and the conditions previously stated are more likely to be curable if detected early. So, what’s the first step? Get to the doctor for annual exams to take advantage of preventive services.
Unfortunately, most men are raised to be “tough” and cope with pain instead of complaining to family members. This is why all too often men avoid visiting the doctor until a real concern is identified or symptoms become “plainly visible.” The bad thing is that, by the time this happens, it is often past the optimal curable timeframe for the majority of these conditions and chances of a full recovery are greatly diminished. This is where women can help!
Women usually play an important role (or at least have a strong influence) in many of behavioral habits of men. Exercise, nutrition, and overall awareness of their health are all aspects that tend to rub off on their male counterparts. For example, if my wife is exercising or eating healthy, chances are I am going to follow her example.
If you find yourself still struggling to get your husband, son, or grandson into the doctor’s office to see a physician, here are some tips that may help:
- Find health providers that have weekend and evening appointments or have offices close to his work to make it more convenient for him.
- Schedule appointments for both of you and make fun plans to do something together afterward.
- Recruit male friends or relatives with good health habits to help reinforce your message.
- Point out the connection between good health and good physical and mental performance in sports, work stamina, etc.
- Gently remind him that his children will be influenced by the example he sets when forming life-long health habits.
Ignorance is not bliss—keep up on preventive wellness!