In 2019, a study by the Cleveland Clinic revealed that 77 percent of surveyed men who were married (or in a domestic partnership) would choose shopping with their partner over going to the doctor. But there are many important health reasons why they should, including that it facilitates conversations about getting screened for prostate cancer.
We’re taking the opportunity to focus on prostate cancer screening, and how to have a healthy, productive conversation about it with every man within your circle of loved ones.
Prostate Cancer Basics
Second to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death among American men, and the most commonly diagnosed.
Fortunately, detected before it has a chance to spread beyond the prostate and/or immediate nearby tissues, Cancer.Net predicts that the 5-year survival rate of prostate cancer is nearly 100%. So, the sooner a man is tested, the sooner prostate cancer can be diagnosed — and effectively treated.
Hesitations about Screening?
There may be several reasons why men don’t visit the doctor as frequently as they could or should. When it comes to prostate cancer screening, part of their hesitancy may be linked to confusion around whether or not a test provides reliable results.
While the American Cancer Society acknowledges that “neither the PSA test nor the DRE is 100% accurate,” a 2020 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the benefits of screening men for prostate cancer may be greater than any potential harm.
“The time has come to rethink the use of PSA testing . . .,” asserts Dr. Yaw Nyame, a clinical fellow of urology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, “so that we do not miss the opportunity to improve our ability to diagnose prostate cancer earlier, enhance our ability to treat it effectively, and save more men from serious illness and death.”
Ultimately, the decision about screening should be a personal one. Which is why it’s even more helpful for men starting at the age of 40 (depending on their level of risk) to have regular conversations with their healthcare providers and trusted loved ones about the potential benefits and harms. This way, they can make informed decisions based on their values and needs. Talking it Through
If discussing health issues of any kind — let alone those about prostate cancer — is a challenge for a man in your life, there are several approaches you can take to help.
First and foremost, remind them that “A truly strong, healthy person embraces routine health care, health consultation and daily healthy habits to truly protect his body, not just his own self-image,” as Glenn Good (an expert on masculinity and the psychology of men at the University of Florida) told Huffpost in 2016.
Other recommended helpful tactics may include:
- Expressing your own personal concern for their health
- Leading by your own example
- Arming yourself (and him) with facts and other reliable statistics in the way a doctor might
- Acting as a positive source of inspiration
- Maintaining an atmosphere free of judgment and criticism
And whenever the decision to get screened is made, Outpatient Imaging Culpeper will work sensitively and closely with men and their health specialists to provide caring, quality, state-of-the-art outpatient imaging. Find out more online about how our patient-centric approach to MRI scans aids in diagnosing and monitoring prostate cancer or call us at (540) 321-3190.