BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Dr. Gerald Miletello with the Hematology Oncology Clinic in Baton Rouge says many women ask him to tell their husbands to make an appointment.

Dr. Miletello said the negative attitude many men have about seeking medical care is a huge problem, especially when it comes to colonoscopies and prostate exams.

“Men have to be forced. It’s hard to get a man who’s not having any issues to go do screening tests such as prostate exams, colonoscopies. Men just aren’t good at it. We have to encourage them to go,” said Dr. Miletello. “You would be surprised at the number of men over age 50, who has not had an exam.”

When men do not get routine exams, they miss out on potentially lifesaving screening tests. These exams are an important part of cancer prevention.

“One in seven men will develop prostate cancer. Therefore, all men need screening PSA’s when they turn 50, or if they have a strong family history, or if their father had prostate cancer, you need to start at 40 to 45,” said Dr. Miletello.

A Cleveland Clinic survey shows some reasons men do not go to the doctor include fear of getting a bad diagnosis, embarrassed to discuss a health issue, growing up they were told men don’t complain about their health, they didn’t want to be told they should change their diet and some men believe their illness will heal on its own. Some men in the survey said they would rather do household chores than go to the doctor.

“Family support is key. So, give him a gentle nudge. It’s going to take education in the churches and schools in order to try and make a change,” said Dr. Miletello. “I also try and get one man to try and talk to another man. It’s nothing wrong with going to the doctor. It’s okay to have a colonoscopy. It’s just getting the word out. Men are just afraid to go to the doctor.”

Dr. Miletello said it’s not just older men who should have regular appointments but young men as well.

“At age 20, you should probably have your first cholesterol check and get it done like every three years until age 50, then it becomes a yearly test that needs to be done.”