Michael T Callaghan, MD

May 29th, 2015

June is the perfect time to dust off the tackle box, take a vacation, and celebrate Father’s Day. Of course, June is also the time to celebrate men as it is designated National Men’s Health Month. As we focus on prevention and the importance of annual screenings and routine health visits, we too encourage men to man up, take a personal health inventory, and create a plan to improve their health.

Statistically, men’s infrequent utilization of health care couple with poor health habits contributes to shorter, less healthy lifespans. Unless a man develops a chronic condition as a child, such as asthma, he is likely to forgo routine physical examinations. According to the CDC, “women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and prevention services than men.” Many men wait until they are faced with a health crisis or until someone pushes them to make an appointment.

Men’s Health Month stresses the need for men to maintain an ongoing relationship with their primary care physician and to schedule annual exams and routine screenings. Many health conditions can be prevented or detected early with regular checkups. Men need to be aware of any family history of cancer, adopt a healthier lifestyle and educate themselves on common health concerns including cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.

According to cancer.org, “about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.” And the National Cancer Institute estimates 233,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the US in 2014 and 29,480 deaths will occur due to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer statistics are hair-raising, in part, because prostate cancer is unlike most other cancers. There isn’t a visible abnormality. It’s difficult to diagnose because it’s silent. Men commonly do not experience any glaring symptoms in the early stages. Furthermore, some prostate cancers can be deadly, but others can cause minimal problems creating more confusion. Fortunately, with increased awareness, education and prostate cancer testing, it is increasingly likely that more men will be diagnosed in the early stages. If detected and treated early, there is a 97 percent success rate if treatment is pursued.

Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue. Encourage the men in your life to eat healthy, exercise daily, manage their weight, be aware of their mental health, eliminate unhealthy habits and schedule a doctor’s appointment.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate, testicular or another type of cancer, Portneuf Cancer Center is here for you and your family.

For all of us at Portneuf Cancer Center, treating cancer patients is more than just health care. We want everyone to find ways to be well. We are here if you need us. We offer our patients faster, gentler, yet highly effective treatments that improve, prolong and even save lives. By pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer, we are helping to advance the standard of human care. To learn more about the cancer therapies, our support groups or to speak to someone in the Cancer Center, call 208-239-1750.