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Friday, July 17, 2009

Modern day myth 

The BBC are currently touting this on their website as news:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8154200.stm

Yet again they are pointing the finger at men and labelling them as lazy, ignorant, macho idiots who don’t bother going to their GP when something is obviously wrong.

This story was “reported” a few months ago and has only resurfaced due to the recent disclosure that the footballer John Hartson has been diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer.

I have every sympathy with Hartson: he is younger than me, has to be a lot fitter and has a wife and young family. It is a tragic case and I wish him well.

I do, however, take exception to the BBC again perpetuating the myth that it is always the man’s fault that things like this are not caught in time. Reading further down the article reveals a comment that perfectly illustrates why I feel this way:

Frankly, if you're a male of working age, doctors also assume there can be little wrong with you. I asked for a general check-up when I reached 40, and as well getting a slightly frosty response, was asked "well, do YOU think there's anything wrong?" It's not embarrassment, it's being made to feel you're wasting the time of NHS staff.

I have had to make two or three trips to see one of the GPs at my surgery before I am taken seriously and have some action taken. One of my friends has had the same experience at a different surgery.

Undoubtedly there are men who do not go to the doctor because it’s not something “blokes” do but those that make the effort often feel that their GP considers them a waste of time. If you get that feeling often enough you begin to think that a visit to the GP is in itself a waste of time.

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