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 Dr. Ryan Berglund 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% 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 Berglund. “Prostate cancer, if you catch it early, is a curable disease with very low mortality rates.”
Meanwhile, 65% of men try to self-diagnose before going to the doctor, and many turn to the internet, but 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 20s,” said 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% of men who aren’t already seeing a doctor regularly said they’d be more likely to do so if it was more convenient.
Berglund encourages men to seek out doctors who offer virtual visits or extended and weekend hours in order to get the care they need.