Instead of buying your sweetheart chocolates for Valentine’s Day this year, one cancer survivor suggests people get screened as a gift to their significant other.
Valentine’s Day conjures up images of men scurrying around to find chocolates, flowers and cards for their sweethearts. Cupid hovers in the air with bow and arrow at the ready on the day when kisses and hugs reign and couples whisper sweet nothings to one other.
But for some couples, Valentine’s Day signifies a health disaster averted, a life saved. It is the perfect occasion for wives and girlfriends to implore their beloved to get screened for prostate cancer.
“My wife truly saved my life,” a fellow survivor in our prostate support group recently told me. “She’s my angel.”
Another man said, “I probably never would have gotten my screening if my girlfriend hadn’t been so persistent. They caught my cancer early.”
Many men stubbornly neglect their prostate health. Many don’t go to the doctor at all, much less ask their doctor to perform a prostate exam or conduct a PSA test. “I’ll get the exam someday,” they say, to the consternation of the significant others in their lives.
No Candy or Flowers
But the significant others in our story stepped up their game and asked husbands and boyfriends to get screened in lieu of candy and flowers. On Valentine’s Day, a day for loving gestures, what man could possibly resist such an earnest request?
I can only imagine how the conversation would have gone:
She: “I don’t want candy and flowers this year, sweetie.”
He: (caught flat-footed) “What did you say, honey?”
She: “I’ve decided. It’s very important. I do want you to go get your prostate exam for Valentine’s Day. Please, darling.”
He: “No candy? Not even a card?”
She: (not backing down) “That’s right. This year let’s do something different, dear. It’s a screening and I want to make sure you’re OK. Please, do this for yourself. Do it for us.”
He: “Well, if it means all that much to you, OK.”
Women More Attuned to Health
Think about it: How many men out there would ever nag their wives and girlfriends to go for an annual mammogram? That indeed would be rare. Women are generally much more attuned to their bodies and more attentive to good health compared to men.
Also, most women that I know are an open book when it comes to discussing their health and the need for cancer screenings. We men, often stoic about such matters, could learn a thing or two from them.
I know a cancer advocate who works tirelessly to educate men about the need for prostate screening. Her organization even sponsors a fishing trip where men can enjoy themselves while getting a soft sell on the need for this essential screening. She confided in me that she was having trouble recruiting men to go on the outing, even though all expenses were paid.
Hard to believe, but it’s true.
Men Could Learn a Thing or Two
When it comes to our health, we men need to listen to the women in our lives. They know what’s best for us. And when it comes to things like cancer, the stakes could not be any greater.
So, Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Let’s hear it for cancer screenings!
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