So tell me, guys. When's the last time you saw a doctor? "I'd say ... Geez ... . " This was going to take a bit for Chauncey McLean, 23...
So tell me, guys. When’s the last time you saw a doctor?
“I’d say … Geez … .”
This was going to take a bit for Chauncey McLean, 23, who I found sitting outside a Seattle Tully’s the other day. I kneeled down beside him. Waited.
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He’s a young man. But still.
“I go when there is something wrong,” he said, or to get shots before traveling overseas.
“And when I was in school, there were all these checkpoints where I had to go to the doctor to get a form filled.”
But since graduating from NYU, McLean hasn’t seen a doctor. Not even when he had the flu — for a month.
Matt Weiber? How about you?
“About a week ago,” the 28-year-old salesman told me. “I tore my ACL.”
Before that? “Oh … “
None of this surprises Dr. Richard Pelman, 53, a clinical professor of urology at the University of Washington, who chairs Men’s Health for the Washington State Urology Society and practices with Bellevue Urology Associates.
“Guys don’t want to come to the doctor because of what they fear,” Pelman said. “They tend to be late in coming in or put it off, thinking whatever is bothering them — even chest pain — will go away.”
In fact, he said, men take better care of their cars than they do their own bodies. And it is often the health-conscious women in their lives who make the appointment.
“They don’t say, ‘I’m here to get my prostate checked,’ ” Pelman said. “They say, ‘My wife sent me.’ “
To ease some of those fears, Pelman has put together “A Guide to Men’s Health” that he thinks is the ultimate Father’s Day gift — and a great way for employers to keep their workers healthy and happy.
The 64-page booklet, which was published last November through a grant from Bayer Pharmaceuticals, gives explanations and advice on things such as nutrition, exercise, colorectal-cancer screening, sexual dysfunction and prostate cancer.
It is available online at www.wsus.org/healthguide.
The booklet has been distributed by employers such as Microsoft, Boeing and Paccar. Pelman hopes other companies, such as Costco and Starbucks, follow suit.
“It could mean the difference between a routine colonoscopy and colon cancer.”
Pelman’s concerns about men’s aversion to medical treatment are supported by a 2000 survey done by the Commonwealth Fund: Of those who hadn’t visited a doctor in the past five years, 70 percent were men. One in three men have no regular doctor.
What finally gets them into the examining room? The magic promised by a little blue pill called Viagra.
“It’s a great hook,” Pelman said, especially since erectile dysfunction is often a sign of other problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or even diabetes.
So maybe the best Father’s Day gifts you can give, Pelman said, are to log your dad onto the Men’s Health Web site, and then make him a doctor’s appointment — “and keep it!”
Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That means you, Daddy.