Doctors trying to reach men who may be missing important health screenings

Local News

(WKBN) – June is Men’s Health Awareness Month. On average, men go to the doctor less often than women.

Doctors say men just don’t talk about health problems the way women do.

“Every day, women come in here with a lot of different complaints and concerns, and men seem to be dragged in here a lot of time… We have a rural population, so it might be a little bit skewed that way,” said Dr. Austin Fredickson, who works in internal medicine at Salem Regional Medical Center.

The same thing is happening with urban populations, too.

“Generally speaking, men don’t like going to the doctor very frequently. A lot of times, there is a significant other, a wife, that drives them to the office,” said Dr. Stephen Predebon, who works in family medicine at Mercy Health.

Men, on average, die five years sooner than women, many of them from skipping the dreaded prostate exam.

“Everyone crosses their arms and says, ‘That’s a one–way street,'” said Dr. Fredickson. “There’s this false machismo thing. ‘I’m macho. I’m a man. I don’t need to see my doctor.’ The trouble is, they go and take their car for an oil change every six months. They don’t want to blow a gasket.”

Black men and those with lower incomes are more likely to die younger from prostate cancer.

“We’re higher than the Ohio average in the Mahoning Valley, especially among African American men as well as men with no insurance,” said Laura Boomhower, a community educator at Mercy Health.

Early detection is the best way to beat prostate cancer, and it all starts with an exam.

Mercy Health has a men’s health program called “Man Up Mahoning Valley” in order to spread awareness about prostate health.

“Our motto at Man Up Mahoning Valley is don’t fear the finger,” Boomhower said.

Some doctors say you can skip the physical exam and get a blood exam instead, or both.

“You need to figure out what’s best for you, the individualized approach that is best for your own screening,” said Dr. Predebon.

Mercy Health’s Man Up Mahoning Valley offers free blood screening for prostate cancer. The next screening event will be on June 19 at the Covelli Centre.

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