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Men becoming more health-conscious
BY MARIECAR JARA-PUYOD December 08, 2017
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DUBAI: Two elements have been identified by three specialists to have become the anchor for improved men’s health.

These two are the support system as well as the increasing awareness brought about by different media platform.

King’s College Hospital London Medical & Surgical Centre Abu Dhabi-Urology and Paediatric Urology consultant Dr. Jorg Meyer has seen through all the 20 years of his work, half of which have been in the UAE, that men equally visit hospital on their own or with a family member.

However, he noted: “Compared to Europe, in this part of the world, more men come with their wife or other family members.”

Meyer’s colleague, Family Medicine specialist Dr. Mark Homolka, said: “Generally, men will consult on their own, but usually after being pressured to do so by their partners.”

Homolka who chose to specialise in men’s health, claiming it is an “integral part of Family Medicine, added that the “well-man screenings” promoted by employers and insurance companies have also buoyed improved men’s health.

He added: “Contrary to what men may think, the Family Medicine consultant is a patient’s health champion. The Family Medicine consultant is the most qualified clinician within a clinical setting and he knows whom to refer the patient if he needs specialised care.”

King’s College Hospital London Jumeirah Medical Centre-General & Colorectal surgeon Dr. Robert Church who has observed that many of his patients have others with them “for comfort” during consultations, said: “It is generally positive to have a support system, whether is it a wife, a friend or another family member.

“Sometimes, it is the people in their support system that encourage them to go for an early consultation; for example, they are prompted by worried family members.”

Church noted that men generally do not pay attention to their health “out of embarrassment or desire to appear masculine” and so they seldom open up with family, friends and colleagues and shy away from consultations.

He added: “One key factor is that men tend to not have to engage with health professionals in early adult life compared to women of child-bearing age and who require maternity care.”

Meyer said: “The way men deal with their health concerns depends highly on their level of education and awareness, as well as their religious and cultural background. Some try to hide their problems, some are open-minded.”

Homolka and Meyer claimed the influx of campaigns on the importance of taking responsibility over one’s health has let men become open-minded and accepting of their need to be pro-active.

Homolka said: “I have seen positive signs that they are increasingly taking more responsibility for their health due to greater general health awareness and media advertising campaigns for lung, colon and prostate cancers; diabetes and dementia.”

He also said: “Predominantly, male patients tend to seek help in the later disease stages, as early warning signs are often ignored.”

Church was on the same page as Homolka and added: “In recent years, we have had campaigns for bowel and testicular cancer, which we believe have led to increased awareness and disease prevention.”

On the contrary, Meyer sees patients “at the onset of diseases.”

All three who have been practising for between two and three decades were interviewed recently to shed light on the mindset of men towards health.

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