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September 5, 2018/News Releases

Cleveland Clinic Survey: Spouses/Significant Others Play an Influential Role in Getting Men to Take Their Health Seriously

National MENtion It® campaign stresses the importance of sharing health concerns with your loved ones

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A new national survey by Cleveland Clinic reveals a disconnect between the sexes when it comes to staying on top of their health.

In two online surveys among approximately 2,000 U.S. men and women 18 years or older, Cleveland Clinic found that 83 percent of women* said they encourage their spouse/significant other to get their health checked once a year, however, 30 percent of men believe that they don’t need to go because they are “healthy.”

The survey was issued as part of Cleveland Clinic’s third annual educational campaign, “MENtion It®,” which aims to address the fact that men often do not “MENtion” health issues or take steps to prevent them. This year for the first time, Cleveland Clinic surveyed women in addition to men to try to understand how mothers, wives, spouses/significant others, daughters and friends can encourage the men in their lives to stay healthy.


“When it comes to the health of their husbands, fathers, brothers, or sons, women are often times the health decision-maker in the family,” said Eric Klein, M.D., chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. “Many of our male patients admit to only seeing their doctor after their significant other has encouraged them to go. We wanted to make sure we captured their point of view on men’s health since they play such an important role.”

Key survey findings:
  • Six-in-ten (61 percent) men have neglected visiting a doctor even when they needed to go.
  • Only about half (47 percent) of men under the age of 35 regularly do testicular self-exams.
  • More than half (56 percent) of men prefer to keep health concerns to themselves and not share them with anyone.
  • Discussing sexual health conditions with their partner is particularly taboo: Two-in-five men with live-in partners would not discuss painful erections (41 percent) and/or frequent erectile dysfunction (43 percent) with their partner

One common ground the survey found among men and women is that both sexes turn to the internet as much as their doctor when a health concern comes up: just as many men and women research their symptoms online (27 percent of men and 27 percent of women) or consult a doctor when first noticing changes in their health (27 percent of men and 26 percent of women). Additionally, most men (88 percent) and women (85 percent) with live-in partners agree that it is important to discuss health concerns with their partner, but few men (15 percent) and women (14 percent) reported that they share their health changes with their spouse/significant other, first.

“We want to educate men about health issues that might seem insignificant but could actually be an indicator of a larger health problem,” said Dr. Klein. “For example, frequent urination at night might just seem annoying but it can also be reflective of conditions other than prostate enlargement, such as sleep apnea, which can be associated with an increased risk of heart disease.”

*refers to women who live with a male significant other/spouse

Patient stories

Man Fighting Rare Form of Cancer After Wife Insisted He Seek Help
After months of pain and sickness, Justin Singer was diagnosed with epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE), a rare form of sarcoma cancer. The role Justin’s wife Morgan played in his medical journey can’t be understated. Initially, Justin was slow to seek medical treatment or a second opinion when his flu- and bronchitis-like symptoms wouldn’t pass. But when his problems persisted, Morgan, as she described it, “nagged and nagged and nagged.” By the time Justin’s “flu” evolved into a collapsed lung that required emergency surgery, his doctors in Dayton at last unearthed the cause: EHE. And they urged him to contact one of the few facilities with expertise in the field, which led them to Cleveland Clinic.

Justin and his wife Morgan. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

Two Brothers Overcome Prostate Cancer at Same Time
Not only were Ricky and Frank Perez diagnosed with prostate cancer just a few weeks apart by the same Cleveland Clinic urologist (Daniel Shoskes, M.D.), but they received personalized forms of treatment under the direction of the same radiation oncologist– often, from adjacent linear accelerator machines.

Justin and his wife Morgan. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

Doctor Reconstructs Man’s Bladder Using His Small Intestine
Every day when Al Sidoti wakes up and sees his kids, he’s particularly grateful. Not only does he get to spend time with his step-daughter, Gabriella, but with his 4-year-old daughter, Scarlett, who was born after Al underwent the removal of his bladder, prostate and surrounding lymph nodes to treat bladder cancer. His request of Georges-Pascal Haber, MD, PhD, a pioneer in minimally invasive treatment of urologic cancers, was simple and direct: “Do what you have to do to save my life.” Dr. Haber presented Al with one viable option: laparoscopic removal of the cancerous bladder using the da Vinci robotic technique, followed by surgery to reconstruct a new bladder out of a section of Al’s small intestine.

Justin and his wife Morgan. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

Visit www.clevelandclinic.org/MENtionit for more information about men’s health and important preventive steps every man can take.

Methodology Two online surveys conducted among a total of approximately 2,000 U.S. Americans 18 years or older living in the continental United States, were conducted between April 10 and May 7, 2018. The surveys were weighted to be nationally representative based age, gender, ethnicity and education. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. About Cleveland Clinic Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 52,000 employees are more than 3,600 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 14,000 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic’s health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 11 regional hospitals, more than 150 northern Ohio outpatient locations – including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers – and locations in Weston, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2017, there were 7.6 million outpatient visits, 229,000 hospital admissions and 207,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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