5 Reasons Men Avoid the Doctor, But Shouldn't

5 Reasons Men Avoid the Doctor, But Shouldn't

Guys, your body may be suffering from silent conditions that have little or no symptoms. It's time to get informed and become a smart patient.

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By Taylor Dahl

In a national survey of 1,000 men, more than 80 percent of them could rattle off the make and model of their first car—but only half could recall their last doctor’s appointment. If that sounds like you (or the man in your life), listen up. Unlike your car, you or your guy could be suffering from silent conditions, such as hypertension or colon cancer, that have little or no symptoms. So no more excuses. Read on for a reality check—and make that doctor’s appointment now.

Reason #1: “Why should I see a doctor? I feel fine.”

2 / 6 Reason #1: “Why should I see a doctor? I feel fine.”

Reality: You may feel fine, but the numbers don’t lie: More men than women are likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and kidney disease. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.1 percent of US men have circulatory diseases like coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. And here’s the scary truth: Many of these conditions, including some kinds of cancer, may not have symptoms you can see or feel. The good news: A few simple tests can easily give your doctor a snapshot of your health.

Reason #2: “It will get better on its own”

3 / 6 Reason #2: “It will get better on its own”

Reality: The old “ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away” approach may have worked with your kid brother, but beware when it comes to your health. Case in point: Your skin. About 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and men are more likely than women to die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The real shocker? Only five percent of men wear sunscreen daily, and about 50 percent of men haven’t worn it at all in the past year. Protect your skin by wearing SPF and doing regular skin checks using this guide. If you see something suspicious, see a dermatologist.

Reason #3: “It’s embarrassing.”

4 / 6 Reason #3: “It’s embarrassing.”

Reality: Sure, talking about your sex life is awkward, but it’s important for your doc to know your entire health history, including previous sexual encounters, in order to provide the best care. Your physician may suggest STD screenings, depending on your history.

You should talk to your doctor, too, about your risk of prostate cancer—especially if you’re over 50, African American, or if prostate cancer runs in your family. If you feel squeamish about the exam, you’re in luck: A simple blood test called prostate specific antigen (PSA) can help diagnose prostate cancer. Not all doctors agree about the best way to use the test, though, so talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.

Reason #4: “I don’t like tests.”

5 / 6 Reason #4: “I don’t like tests.”

Reality: Nobody likes being poked and prodded, but getting screened for certain conditions could save your life. For instance, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, but your risk of dying from the disease is greatly reduced if you’re diagnosed early. In fact, there are more than one million colorectal cancer survivors in the U.S. thanks to proper screenings and treatment.

If you’re a baby boomer, you should get tested for hepatitis C (HCV). More than 75 percent of adults infected with HCV, often a symptomless disease, were born between 1945-1965. Left untreated, HCV can cause life-threatening diseases such as liver damage, liver cancer and cirrhosis.

Reason #5: “I’m busy.”

6 / 6 Reason #5: “I’m busy.”

Reality: When it comes to finding a doctor or booking an appointment, time isn’t really an excuse.  Scheduling online or on the phone usually takes minutes, and most routine checkups can be done in a lunch break or less. Want more face time?  Book back-to-back appointments, or ask the receptionist for extra time.  Use our Doctor Visit Guide to make the most of your appointment. And for the 21 percent of US men without a healthcare team, Sharecare’s Find a Doctor has made it easy to contact a physician in your area.