Men are frequently accused of not taking responsibility for their own health. One reason, particularly in regard to prostate cancer (PCa) and other male disorders, is a lack of awareness of incident rates, causes and treatment protocols. Other reasons: disinformation, and no societal or media support. Men’s health doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar screen.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 30,000 American men will die from prostate cancer this year. That‘s a pretty high number for a disease many health advocates and professionals claim men die with, not from! The incident rate of prostate cancer and the mortality rate from the disease are roughly equal to those of breast cancer, yet last year National Cancer Institute statistics showed more than double the research money, $631 million to$ $300 million, was spent on breast cancer research compared to prostate cancer research.
In this part we will turn our attention to our male machinery, to prostates, PSAs, prostate cancer (PCa), Low-T, ED, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and the T-bomb. We will also look at the impact of stress on health, and the interconnectivity between the destruction of masculinity and men’s health. All this will needs to be seen against the backdrops of mind and body, and of the physical-social-political environment. Modern PC culture, despite assertions to the contrary, seemingly is no better at allowing guys to handle stress and all its adjunct complications, than the taciturn John Wayne culture of yore. Why?
But first, let’s look at physicians, then at the characteristics of the male patient. For many years I was on one side; I now find being on the other quite enlightening. Last year I was doing an interview with a female TV reporter. She said, “Thank God there’s some guy who wants to talk about men’s health. I’m sick of only hearing about women’s health.” She brought up the issue of men not caring, and I said, “They care a lot, but they don’t have a vehicle, a cultural mechanism, which encourages it. If men didn’t care, I wouldn’t have had a practice for forty years. My office wasn’t filled with zombies waiting to die.”
Still, it is true that guys beat themselves up over getting sick. When a guy says, “I don’t have time for this crap!” he is really saying he wants the problem fixed; he wants to get on with his tasks. Consider the characteristics of being physical, of needing to achieve, needing to be competent, self-sufficient and competitive. Being sick is not simply a blow to the body, it is a blow to confidence, to self-mage. Being sick, being incapacitated, being in a state of declining health is stressful. When men are faced with a situation that to them is threatening, they first try to rationalize it away, then they try to analyze or intellectualize a way out. Finally they attempt to come up with a plan to solve the problem—all while keeping their emotions in check or hidden. One can’t think himself out of pneumonia, diabetes or cancer, but the male psyche, at least initially, thinks otherwise.
We’ll talk about additional medical complications of stress below, but for the moment consider that many behaviors of the male patient are mechanisms aimed at stress reduction and at the maintenance of traditional capacity. These mechanisms may include initial denial, pain justification, and purposeful ignorance (as in the act of ignoring). A side-effect of these mechanisms is they tend to lower cultural demand for information, thereby exacerbating the situation in which information on male conditions is not readily available. Society interprets this to mean men