CLEVELAND – For many men, cleaning the bathroom, or mowing the lawn, is more appealing than going to the doctor – according to a new Cleveland Clinic survey.
Urologist Ryan Berglund, M.D., said the results show this ‘doctor dread’ is deeply rooted.
“Almost half of patients reported that they were taught, as children, that men didn’t complain about their health,” he said.
More than 80 percent of men take care of themselves to be there for family and friends, but about two-thirds admit to waiting as long as possible before seeking medical care for symptoms or injuries.
“Many diseases, if they’re caught early, are fairly treatable and fairly straightforward to treat,” said Dr. Berglund. “Prostate cancer, if you catch it early, is a curable disease with very low mortality rates.”
Meanwhile, 65 percent of men try to self-diagnose before going to the doctor, and many turn to the internet – but Dr. Berglund said nothing beats seeing an expert, face-to-face.
“When I hear something weird going on in my car, I have no idea what’s going on under the hood – I call my mechanic who I trust, who has years of experience taking care of that,” he said. “And we’re talking about a similar kind of concept with a doctor.”
Only half of men surveyed consider an annual check-up part of taking care of themselves, but it’s often key to maintaining good health.
“We recommend you establish a relationship with a primary care physician – even as early as your twenties,” said Dr. Berglund. “They can identify genetic risks, predispositions to heart disease, or cancers, perform an initial screening of blood pressure, and blood lipids. It’s important to establish that relationship, so that if a problem occurs down the road, you have a primary person you can make contact with.”
The survey also found that about 60 percent of men who aren’t already seeing a doctor regularly said they’d be more likely to do so if it was more convenient.
Dr. Berglund encourages men to seek out doctors who offer virtual visits or extended and weekend hours in order to get the care they need.