More than 13% of men over the age of 18 are in fair or poor health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men’s Health Month is a good reminder to see a doctor and discuss any health issues or concerns.
“There are actually studies to say that 70% of men would rather do house chores or things around the yard than go to the doctor,” said Dr. James Kuan, medical director at Swedish Urology at First Hill. “It’s important, though, that men take that first step to go to the doctor because we can’t provide preventative health care if we see you only when you’re unwell.”
Establishing a relationship with a primary care physician can help you identify any issues early. It is important to have regular wellness exams to stay on top of your health.
If you are anxious about going to the doctor, know that it’s normal and you’re not alone. Tell the medical assistant, nurse or physician that you’re nervous so they can help you better navigate your visit. Bring a loved one to be a second set of eyes and ears, and make a list of questions in advance to ensure you discuss all of your concerns.
Cancer screenings save lives, and a primary care physician will help you determine what screenings you should have based on your age and family history.
- If you are a current or past smoker between the ages of 50 and 80 and have a 20-pack per year (or more) smoking history, your doctor may recommend a low-dose CT scan that screens for early-stage lung cancer.
- Prostate cancer screening generally starts in a man’s 50s, but it will sometimes start in a man’s 40s if he is African American or there is a close family history. Screening will usually consist of a prostate exam to evaluate for lumps and abnormalities and a blood test known as a PSA.
- Colorectal cancer screenings (often colonoscopies) start at 45 for men at average risk and may be earlier for those with a family history or preexisting conditions.
Sexual health is another topic many men want to discuss but may put off the conversation with a doctor.
“A lot of men go for something else when really what they wanted to talk about is sexual health,” Dr. Kuan said.
Make a specific appointment to discuss your sexual health or let staff know at intake that you’d like to address the topic so your doctor can make time.
As a urologist, Dr. Kuan focuses on helping men recover from prostate cancer and live a normal life after treatment may have left them with urinary or sexual problems.
“It’s a very rewarding part of my practice that I’m able to give this back because no men asks for prostate cancer,” Dr. Kuan said.
If you’ve been putting off care or need a follow-up, make an appointment today on the Swedish Primary Care website.
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