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Doctor: For Father's Day, Good Health is the Best Gift

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Encouraging Dad to get his annual health checkup is one caring gesture for Father's Day this Sunday.  (Jeremyyablan/Wikimedia Commons)
Encouraging Dad to get his annual health checkup is one caring gesture for Father's Day this Sunday. (Jeremyyablan/Wikimedia Commons)
June 17, 2016

SEATTLE - As Father's Day approaches, sons and daughters might be thinking about how to help keep their fathers healthy, which is not always an easy task. A study by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the last year.

Family medicine physician Scott Itano with Group Health said he likes to give men some perspective when it comes to getting regular checkups.

"I usually say, 'Most men take better care of their cars than they do themselves,' " he said. "You get an oil change twice a year, but most men find it hard to get into a doctor's office, even every few years."

Itano said checkups are the preventive care that helps doctors catch such concerns as cancer, stroke and heart disease, which are the leading causes of death among men, before they become fatal. Urging Dad to eat a healthier diet, get more physical activity, and quit smoking are other caring steps family members can take to encourage him to stay healthy.

One concern among some men is the potential financial burden of regular checkups. While costs can be a barrier for some patients, Itano said, that isn't necessarily the case with preventive care.

"I think the one thing people should know," he said, "is that most preventive services are free and included under the Affordable Care Act."

Ailments such as prostate cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, often do not have any noticeable symptoms. This makes preventive care and early screening all the more important.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA