Short Cuts...A Health Hazard
Last updated: December 2022
A lot of men struggle when it comes to issues below the beltline, and the main struggle often centers on what choices should be made. Do I stay silent? Do I make an appointment with an MD? If so, which one? While we all make countless decisions, choices every day, most of them like deciding what we want for lunch are or very mundane. And then there are the “others” who need a different approach as they can have a significant impact on our lives and health.
Decision making becomes more difficult as we age
If you're in a situation where due to time commitments and other obligations you are routinely making quick decisions without a lot of thought, it can be very easy to brush over an important issue like prostate health. While decision-making for many becomes more difficult as we age, it is typically the problems with multiple options and potential answers that prove to be the most challenging.
Making decisions based on reality
The good news is that as we age, not all decisions are difficult. Why? Because along with our advancing years comes the benefits of history and experience. Both "gifts" in many ways allow us to take some shortcuts in our decision process. For example, if you've taken a cruise to the Bahamas in the past, it would not be difficult for you to decide on taking a cruise to Alaska or elsewhere. Your brain says this event is different, but at the same time, it is familiar, so it is ok to go full speed ahead down the fast lane. The challenge with using shortcuts arises when you make decisions based on history that does not apply to your new reality. The fact that you've not encountered prostate cancer in the past and are making decisions based on your previous health history is dangerous and not the best decision-making tool as you move forward.
Collecting basic information
I often deal with a lot of men and their partners who are facing prostate challenges. One of the first bits of advice I offer is to try and get as much BASIC information as possible about the topic – in short, get the big picture. Many men have no idea what's involved with the prostate or diseases of the prostate, or how to take the next step. By gathering some basic information, you begin to have more confidence as you look to make future decisions. The big danger here is that some men then choose to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get more and more information and wind up with paralysis by analysis.
When you're making an important decision about your prostate and future health, spend some time thinking about the decision. Do not jump into a treatment protocol. With this disease, you have time to make decisions. With prostate cancer, unlike other cancers, take your time, don't rush it. Rather try to get as much information as possible while narrowing down the many treatment options you will have. If possible, try to narrow your options down to two.
Listing out the pros and cons
Most often, older adults can be overwhelmed when they face too many options in the decision-making process. An interesting trick if you find yourself stuck on trying to decide on one path vs. the other - my advice is to change roles. Stop and pretend for a few moments that you are trying to convince someone else to make the same kind of decision you are making.
In many ways, the above process is a variation of listing the positives and negatives in two columns on a piece of paper and then weighing one set of facts against the other. Final decisions when it comes to your health are never easy that said … examine the facts and information at hand and just know you made the right decision.
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