Just throwing this one out there – planned parenthood does not provide mammograms and Komen’s donations have gone up 100% in the last two days. By rerouting that money to organizations who actually do provide mammograms and by raising a boat-load of money didn’t Komen just advance the goal of fighting breast cancer a fair bit?
Given this comment, Occam’s answer to Do men understand what Women’s Health Care Involves would be a resounding “No.”
Perhaps we should start a “Take your partner to the gynecologist” day? Because, given Occam’s comment, there are obviously a lot of guys who have no idea what goes on inside the gynecologist’s office.
Let’s start with his point that “Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms” and that by “rerouting that money to organizations who actually do provide mammograms” [...] “didn’t Komen just advance the goal of fighting breast cancer a fair bit?”
I answered him in the thread:
Not all Planned Parenthood have mammogram equipment in house – hence referrals. You do realize when women go to their private ob/gyns that most are “referred” to another facility for their test [mammogram] since most ob/gyns don’t have mammogram equipment in their office?
Do you also realize that for most women (especially women under the age of 40 since most insurance programs won’t cover mammograms until a certain age) the in-office breast exam can trigger a referral for a mammogram… because that in-office breast exam caused concern? [concern=lump or some other abnormality found]
(Comment edited for clarity)
But here’s the disconnect… Would anyone expect an oncologist to provide chemo and radiation in their office? Would anyone expect a neurologist to have an MRI machine on site? Of course not. So why do some people view a referral for a mammogram differently? I don’t receive mammograms at my ob/gyn’s office. I receive a referral.
Most men’s only experience with ob/gyns comes when their partner is expecting a child, or when their partner has a medical problem and needs the emotional support the men in their lives desperately want to give. All other times what goes on inside the examination room remains a mystery, which is partly women’s fault since not of all us share our experiences. We really need to start expanding our health discussions with the men in our lives to include more than “I have cramps.”
At this point I’m wondering how many men are still reading?
For those of you still hanging in there let me explain what happens (relax, not in great detail) during an average visit to the gynecologist. I used Planned Parenthood when I was younger and didn’t have insurance. The procedures were basically the same.
The first things that happen are the taking of a urine sample, stepping on a scale to monitor your weight, and checking your blood pressure. During this time the nurse/doctor will ask about any changes in your health, your menstrual cycle, any aches, pains, etc.
Next you will be shown into an examination room, asked to get completely undressed and don a gown. The doctor arrives and (in no particular order) the following things happen.
The doctor will conduct a breast exam, searching for lumps and abnormalities. He/she will ask questions about your breasts.
The doctor will pull down the your lower eyelids and check your eyes before moving downward to check your neck.
Then the doctor will press down on your belly and ask if you feel any pain. They will continue this procedure over your entire belly.
During all of these procedures the doctor is asking questions – any tingling or numbness in any part of your body, any unexplainable aches and pains, etc.
Take a minute and look at the above list. Notice how we haven’t even reached the vagina yet? Surprised?
When all this is done we finally move onto the internal exam. (Immediately before the internal exam the doctor will visually examine you. The purpose of this part of the exam is to make sure there are no sores, swelling, or any other problems with the external genitalia.) Then, by hand, the doctor will check the size and position of the ovaries and uterus.
A speculum is then inserted to allow the doctor to visually examine the walls of the vagina and the cervix and to perform tests, such as a Pap smear. A pap smear is accomplished by taking cells from the cervix which are then sent out to a lab to check for abnormal cell changes and cervical cancer.
At the end of the exam most doctors will have you dress and then meet you in their office to discuss your examination and if any additional tests are needed.
If you are over a certain age, or if the breast exam caused the doctor concern, you will receive a referral for a mammogram. This examination is the first line of defense, especially for young women not considered “high-risk” for breast cancer.
Hopefully, this clears up the mystery of women’s health care. My bet is that it involved more than most (not all!) men realized.