Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Survey Shows Men Avoid ‘Embarrassing’ Health Checks
Men in the UAE are avoiding ‘embarrassing’ health checks that could reduce their chances of dying from illnesses that predominantly affect them, according to a survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
The survey, conducted as part of the hospital’s ‘MENtion IT’ campaign, examined more than 1,000 men’s recent experiences in healthcare and the type of health checks they have had.
According to the results, more than half of men in the study have had their blood pressure (66%), cholesterol (50%) and blood sugar levels (59%) checked in the last year.
However, other types of test are far less prevalent. When asked if they have ever spoken to their doctor about their prostate, just 25% of men have. The figures vary across cultural borders, with 50% of western respondents prepared to discuss their prostate with their doctor, compared to 30% of Emiratis and just 23% of Asian residents.
A parallel survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi found that 88% of men had never had a colonoscopy and 34% would not have one even if advised to by their doctor. When asked why not, 15% cited embarrassment and 10% highlighted the perceived social stigma.
In addition, only 24 percent of men surveyed reported that they regularly perform self-examinations for testicular cancer.
“As a community, we’re clearly making progress in raising awareness about heart health and ways to lower cholesterol. However, we need to make similar levels of progress in other areas. For example, men are at particular risk of cancers of the prostate, testicles and colon, so we need to help them take charge of their health and overcome their reluctance to be screened for these conditions” says Dr. Waleed Hassen, Chairman of Urology at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Colon cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in the UAE and around one in twenty male cancer deaths in Abu Dhabi are caused by prostate cancer, a condition only found in men. Doctors recommend that men undergo screenings for colon cancer every ten years after the age of 40 and annual prostate check-ups at the age of 45, or younger if there is a family history.
“Men are risking their lives by giving in to feelings of embarrassment or fear. Early detection and treatment give men the best possible chance of making a full recovery,” continues Dr. Hassen.
As well as examining people’s willingness to talk to a health professional about physical problems, the study also looked at men’s attitude towards speaking to someone about their emotional challenges. Some 29% of survey respondents said that they never looked for help when they feel emotionally down, with some 17% admitting they only did so ‘rarely’.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is running a campaign to encourage men to be more open about their health. The hospital is encouraging men who experience symptoms to ‘MENtion It’ to a doctor. The campaign is aimed at getting men to break the silence about their health and get regular check-ups, helping them detect health problems before they lead to further complications.
To find out more about men’s health challenges and how to approach them, visit mention-it.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae.