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Men's Health: Getting Men to Prioritize Preventative Care

Rosanne Ullman | June 6, 2016 | 9:44 AM
Photo By Getty Images

Although women have been outliving men for centuries both in the U.S. and globally, men continue to lag behind women in taking advantage of routine preventative care as well as in seeking immediate medical attention when pain or illness strikes.

A 2000 Commonwealth Fund report on research found that a third of men had no regular physician and a quarter had not seen a doctor in the previous year. When asked what they would do if they were in pain or feeling sick, a quarter of men said they would wait as long as possible before seeing a doctor and another 17% would delay at least a week. Even when they do seek care, social taboos or embarrassment can sometimes prevent men from openly discussing health concerns with their physicians, according to the report.

A paper issued by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Psychology of Wellness: Why Men Don’t Go to Doctors, concludes that men are afraid to admit any health problems because they tie health to masculinity. High on the report’s no-talk-zone list are multiple nightly bathroom visits, blood in the toilet, erectile dysfunction and an itchy rash just about anywhere.

Knowledge on health topics lags as well. In a 2016 survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatol-ogy (AAD), significantly fewer men than women knew skin cancer can occur on areas of the skin not typically exposed to sun, a base tan is not a healthy way to protect skin from the sun, and there’s no such thing as a healthy tan. Yet men older than 50 have a higher risk than women of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The AAD is targeting men with a public service spot, “Looking Good,” to encourage guys to go to spotskincancer.org to find nearby free skin-cancer screenings and to learn how to perform a skin self-exam.

This month’s Healthy Hairdresser sponsor, Sport Clips, has made men’s skin cancer a central concern. Associating with the Skinny on Skin Program for Salon Professionals, which trains hairdressers and estheticians in how to spot melanoma on clients, Sport Clips is folding this training into every new employee’s mandatory orientation.

“We feel this provides a wonderful knowledge base so that our stylists are able to educate their clients,” says Julie Vargas, Sport Clips’ senior director of career opportunities. “Knowing what to look for, they can help a friend, a family member or themselves. It’s a new skill set for them that can save lives.”

Neither Marcus Caillet nor Philip Ring had a fear of doctors; if anything, they each relied too heavily on modern medicine. The busy salon co-owner of Bren-Dia’s Salon and Day Spa in Owings Mills, Maryland, Caillet had been taking medication for high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. When his numbers worsened and his feet began bothering him, his doctor wanted to increase the dosage. That motivated Caillet to consider other options. He’d watched a client lose a lot of weight on the LiveRite program, which integrates protein-shake supplements with personal coaching, and thought he’d give it a try.

“Some conditions are hereditary, and you have to take medication,” says Caillet, who’s also a member of the Rusk creative team. “Other things are under your control.”

Starting in December, Caillet set a goal of losing 25 pounds. He cut out fried foods, limited carbs, added fruits and vegetables, began reading labels to check sugar and salt content and changed his meal schedule.

“I used to wake up, make a cup of coffee with cream and sugar, go to the salon, make more coffee and eat lunch at noon or later,” Caillet says. “Now I eat something in the morning to fuel my body, and then I have a snack or small meal every two-and-a-half hours. I was never a water drinker, but now most of what I drink is water.”

By mid-April, Caillet had surpassed his goal and lost 40 pounds, and he transitioned to LiveRite’s maintenance program, which he continues to follow by eating about 2,600 calories a day. Never much of an exerciser, he also started working with a personal trainer. The before-and-after photo he posted on social media triggered a wave of support from friends and colleagues.

“The response I got from that picture was unbelievable,” Caillet says. “I’m 45 years old and had never been called skinny before.” He’s noticed an increase in energy, his feet stopped hurting and, most importantly, he no longer needs medication.

Philip Ring, most notably known for and featured for his education on the pixel haircolor trend, wasn’t doctor-shy when he suspected testicular cancer six years ago. But an ultrasound came back negative.

“Flash forward to today, and I have full-blown testicular cancer that my current doctor says was probably there six years ago,” says Ring, a solo hairdresser in Phoenix. “If you’re worried, insist on a blood test to find any cancer markers. It’s worth the money and peace of mind.”

Ring now calls himself a cancer warrior and vows to use his journey to help others.

“The scariest thing about this type of cancer is that visually it doesn’t look like much concern,” says Ring, who did not have health insurance and set up a GoFundMe account to help with the expenses. “If you’re not vigilant or understanding of your body, it can progress too far, when early detection could have made a difference.”

Ring offers three ways to help catch cancer early:

KNOW YOURSELF. In the shower, massage and feel around; pay attention to any bumps.

ACT QUICKLY. If you can see or feel something, schedule an appointment right away. “Take a photo of the area as a baseline to see if anything changes,” Ring says.

GET REGULAR CHECKUPS. “I want my story to remind everyone to get checked at minimum once a year,” Ring says. “If you have any cause for concern but the doctor doesn’t think so, get a second opinion.”

Healthy Hairdresser adds one more: get health insurance. “As hairdressers, we’re always thinking about making other people look beautiful,” Caillet says. “We don’t think about ourselves. If we use it to power up our health and get to the next phase in our life, think what we can accomplish.”

 

Staying Healthy is a Team Effort
Although this month’s Healthy Hairdresser topic focuses on men’s health—for guys working in the salon and the men in all salon pros’ lives—the June Healthy Hairdresser Challenge encourages everyone to get involved!

What are you doing or what can you do in the salon to foster and support a team culture to be healthier in body, spirit and business? See all the details for the challenge, sponsored by Sport Clips on page 82, and learn how your team could be featured in a future, special Healthy Hairdresser Team Spirit spotlight in MODERN SALON.

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