Doctors urge men to seek medical screening

Local News

HARLINGEN (ValleyCentral) — People across the world raise awareness for men’s health through campaigns such as “No Shave November” and “Movember”, but health experts say men often avoid seeking medical care.

“When things get bad enough they show up here to the emergency department,” said Valley Regional Medical Center emergency medicine physician, Dr. Andrew Escamilla.

He explained that men’s health conditions can range from heart conditions to prostate and urinary issues.

He said it is important to address issues at an early age and not wait too long, to prevent the condition from being difficult to treat.

Dr. Escamillia said awareness campaigns are effective, but said it is important to reach all ages.

“I feel like some of this information should be really be directed at some of our younger population, because that’s where we could really step in and make some differences and try to prevent these things from progressing,” he said.

The director of Clinical Services and Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor with South Texas Health System Behavioral Hospital, Joseph Garcia said this issue is common.

“The underutilization of healthcare amongst men has for a long time now been associated or correlated with what are considered to be masculine norms,” said Garcia.

He explained that “masculine norms” include self-sufficiency, reliance, and ways of thinking, causing men to feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

“In Hispanic men, we often hear the word machismo, which is very much masculine norm and like masculine norm is the belief that is deeply rooted in culture and family dynamic,” said Garcia.

He explained research suggests thinking that way contributes to poor health and says that this affects both physical and mental health.

“It’s these masculine norms that are keeping us from reaching out and saying you know what, I need help,” said Garcia.

He said the masculine norms can be changed through more awareness.

“I think by keeping the conversation going, supporting men’s health, supporting health in general, and increasing awareness of the benefits of utilizing healthcare is really the best way to help change that mentality,” said Garcia.

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