Dozens of husbands, brothers, sons and nephews attended the annual men’s health fair Saturday at Loretto Hospital, learning the importance of seeing a doctor and knowing their bodies.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 80 percent less likely to use any regular source of health care compared to woman.
This year’s event included free screenings, presentations and panel discussions moderated by the Rev. Walter Jones, founder of “Fathers That Care.” The health fair was hosted by West Side Men, a community-based organization.
“West Side Men is a group of men from the West Side and various parts of the city who are worried about their communities and would like to take action,” said Lee Owens.
Owens said events like Saturday’s health fair can have an impact on the community.
The health fair’s panel focused not only the importance of men scheduling routinely doctor visits but also knowing their body and family health history.
“People are afraid to go to the doctor because people are scared to here what’s wrong with them,” said Dr. Muhammad Shazad, who runs internal medicine at Loretto Hospital. His presentation focused on the signs that stress CAN have on your health.
“How many of you have been to a doctor without anything being wrong with you?” Shazad asked.
Not one person raised his hand.
He went on to explain how having open dialogue and routine checkups with your doctor can save your life. “Primary prevention of any disease is bringing it up to your doctor.”
Shazad discussed how the failure to tell your doctor about problems such as high levels of stress and depression can be detrimental to one’s health.
“Depression can lead to many diseases, such a pancreatic cancer,” he said.
Thats why Shazad’s office offers free stress and anxiety screenings to any one over the age of 15.
Loretto Hospital’s urologist Dr. Alan Sadah discussed prostate cancer, two words no man wants to hear. Sahad specializes in prostate cancer, prostate- related diseases that aren’t cancerous and erectile dysfunction.
“Prostate cancer is has a higher risk in African American ADD COMMA especially if you have family members that have had it in the past,” he said.
African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men and are nearly 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease. Sahad urges every man “50 to 70 to be screened, especially those who are African American.”
Prostate cancer’s symptoms often take years to show, which make screenings critical.
“The beauty of screening is you don’t need to show symptoms to be screened,” Sahad said, adding you should be screened for all cancerous diseases. Its better to catch it before symptoms start to show.
Sahad introduced William R. Barron Jr., A prostate cancer survivor.
“Men have problems with doctors, we only go if it’s necessary,” Barron said.
His early stages of prostate cancer had no warning signs. Barron received a wake -up call when he started having issues with his bladder and discovered an infection had developed in his prostate that blocked his urinary tract.
Luckily, Barron was able to catch his cancer in the early stages.
“We as men need to get rid of the stereotype that real men don’t go to the doctors,” Barron said. “I live in my doctor’s office now.”