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Men's Health Week: "Hey, Dad, Time for a Tune-up!"
Twice as many men as women die of heart disease, and 50 percent more men than women die of cancer. Yet women are 100 percent more likely than men to get screened for these and other health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Even when they’re sick or in pain, men seem to avoid a visit to the doctor. But let the car make a funny noise, and they head straight for the mechanic, notes Jean Bonhomme, M.D., a spokesperson for the Men’s Health Network, the sponsor of Men’s Health Week, June 13 to 19.

“We need to teach men to have as much respect for their bodies as they have for their cars,” says Bonhomme. “An annual physical exam would be the best place to start, so that they pick up problems while they’re small.”

Bonhomme explains that society teaches the genders to deal with pain differently. An 8-year-old boy who skins his knee is told to be brave. A high school football player who injures himself is told to take one for the team. “So when he’s 50 years old and having chest pains, he’ll say it’s just indigestion,” he says.

Men’s Health Week is intended to call attention to the fact that men live sicker and die younger (up to 6 years!) than women. If you’re having trouble persuading Dad to get the checkups and screenings he needs, Bonhomme offers a few tips:

• Seek out group screenings specifically for men. “A lot of men who won’t see a doctor as an individual will go as part of a group event,” Bonhomme says.

• Point out celebrities who publicize men’s health issues.

• Contact organizations dedicated to men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer or diabetes, to find local support and resources.

• Create a supportive atmosphere at home. Remind Dad that by taking care of himself, he is also taking care of his family.

For more information and health-screening checklists, contact the Men’s Health Network at 202-543-MHN1 or visit
www.menshealthnetwork.org.

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