Women more proactive about health

Women are more proactive about their health than men are, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll.

While nearly half of American women have had a mammogram over the past year, just a quarter of American men have undergone prostate screening over the same time period.

Data also shows a stark difference in attitudes toward screening between genders.

The vast majority (78 percent) of American women 40 years old or older were aware of guidelines for how often and when they should start regular mammograms. About half (52 percent) said those guidelines influenced their decision to have a test.

By contrast, 67 percent of American men age 50 and older said they were aware of similar guidelines recommended for prostate cancer screening. Less than half (45 percent) said those guidelines influence them to undergo screening.

When asked about other specific screening procedures they have undergone in the past year, 14 percent of all respondents indicated they had a colorectal screening and 24 percent said they had a diabetes screening.

Overall, 84 percent of respondents said they have a personal physician, a rate that increased with age and income. Almost all (96 percent) respondents over 65 years old said they had a personal physician, while just 57 percent of those under 35 said they have one. Those who have relationship with a personal doctor were at least 10 percent more likely to get a screening test.

Besides being telling about attitudes toward routine health screenings, the survey also demonstrates the value of having a personal doctor, says Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics.

“Women and patients who have a personal physician are better health care consumers in general," he says. "Encouraging everyone, especially men, to select and visit a primary care provider often enough to establish a trusted relationship is a first step to improving our nation’s preventative health efforts.”


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