It seems peculiar to me that presentations designed to inform men about the importance of early detection often fill the room with survivors… men who have already been diagnosed and are already extremely knowledgeable about early detection.
So, what’s the best case scenario? Is it teaching my 12 year old how to eat right and be safe and healthy? To adopt practices early in life that reduce his risk of developing cancer or, more likely, just reduce his risk of dying of it? To encourage my 35 year old brother to be sensitive of our family history so we don’t have to experience more loss from this preventable cause of death? God knows he is already “aware” as we shared losing our dad together… so talking to him about genetic testing… nagging him to screen annually and track his velocity… to make sure he knows what those results mean?
Social marketing is a term that gets tossed around in public health… it’s a novel concept designed to inspire revolutions. But seriously, for the theory to work, don’t you have to start by designing programs and messages that inspire change within in groups and individuals that are most likely to adopt that change? Who is that guy? Is he a guy with health insurance or without it? Is he already knowledgeable about health issues, or completely unaware? Is he completely opposed to change, or concerned and willing to consider adaptations?
Further, if we don’t encompass within that message an underlying communication about the varying degrees of prostate cancer and the importance of knowing what yours is and how to manage it, don’t we create our own opposition?
What if you flip the message around and talk about the broad palette of options available with early detection? Talk about the improved outcomes both in regard to survival and preservation of quality of life available with early detection? Emphasize that, with early detection, you buy time to research and educate yourself?
Is that an easier pill to swallow? Maybe just keeping it simple and about priorities like family and quality of life… maybe?