How Can We Get More Men To See A Doctor?
Men are statistically less likely to see a doctor than women. Men's Health Forum found that British men visit the doctor 20% less than women do. Movember is trying to address this gender gap, but why does it exist? And short of shouting 'Men! Boobs over here!' How can they be convinced to go?
Macho Man Syndrome
Not an actual illness, but perhaps it should be. From birth, men are told 'don't cry you total girl' or 'man-up and stop moaning.' This is a problem because it gives the impression that showing pain or being ill is weak. Boys carry this assumption into adulthood and don't get the medical treatment they need.
On the flip side we have the guy that's too scared or embarrassed to go for a prostate check-up, or to get his balls out so the doctor can look at a steadily growing lump. Why on earth are men more scared of showing their balls to a GP that they are of dying from cancer?
The Everyman Male Cancer Campaign believes men are more likely to be admitted to hospital because they've delayed so long, but's no lie that fitting a doctor's appointment into a busy schedule is difficult. Surgeries don't care how busy you are and it's almost impossible to get a convenient date.
Men Ignore Symptoms
More women get skin cancer but more men die from it, which just shows how bad men are at visiting the doctor.
It's tempting to accept illness as part of aging. Coughs that won't shift, blood in poo, or constant ulcers on your gums are little symptoms, but they are signs of lung cancer, bowel cancer and mouth cancer.
Waiting For Their Wife To Do It
It's a generalisation to say that men wait for their wife or mum to sort out a doctor or dentist appointment, and sorry if you are offended, but it's probably true.
How Can Men Be Convinced To Go?
The health service needs to get more creative in attracting men, and men need to get more open about their health.
- Make opening hours more work-friendly. Perhaps Skype appointments would help, and that goes for everyone.
- Campaigns that highlight men's bodies as engines have been successful, so maybe more along those lines.
- More promotion of doctor visits by tough guys, rugby players or F1 stars might make the surgery more approachable.
- Promote health with humour and bloke language in pubs, sports venues and office toilets. Gordon Ramsay swearing might help. 'Oi you w****er - see the doctor!' in a Kitchener style poster.
- Parents can help now. When your son feels pain let him tell you about it, don't say 'you're a big boy so don't cry' because that stores up problems for later life.
If you're a bloke reading this and you have symptoms then please see your doctor because leaving it may result in an early death. You're more prone to certain cancers and probably take more risks with your health than women, so it's high time you had a check up.