Letter to HHS head cites alarming statistics
Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo pushed for the creation of an Office of Menâ??s Health within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in a letter sent this week to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. The proposed office, which Crapo said could be modeled after the existing Office of Womenâ??s Health, would coordinate and promote the status of men's health in the United States. Crapo pointed out what he calls â??a noticeable problemâ?? in menâ??s health in his letter of support for creation of the Office.â??On average, American men live shorter and less-healthy lives than American women,â?? Crapo said. â??Statistically, women visit the doctor far more often than men. Too often, men fail to get routine checkups, health counseling, or preventive care, and they often ignore symptoms or delay seeking medical attention when sick or in pain. Irregular contact with doctors means many men fail to receive any preventive care for potentially life-threatening conditions. In addition, when men do seek care, embarrassment can often prevent them from openly discussing health concerns with their physicians.â??Crapo, who had a successful bout with prostate cancer in January 2000, has become an advocate for menâ??s health issues, both in Idaho and in Congress. He has sponsored the Mike Crapo Health Awareness booths at regional fairs in Idaho for the past three years, and is currently a sponsor of a Congressional Resolution supporting National Men's Health Week. Crapo is also the original co-sponsor of S. 1028, the Men's Health Act of 2003, a bill designed to create the Office of Menâ??s Health. Crapoâ??s letter asks Secretary Thompson to use his HHS authority to establish the office, eliminating the need for such legislation.â??Creating this office will serve as a preemptive step that could save lives,â?? Crapo added. â??While an Office of Menâ??s Health is not a cure-all, it will assist men to focus on many health problems that can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. In addition, it will help save individual and government resources by helping to prevent costly diseases and conditions. Prevention and early detection can only happen with increased public awareness, something the proposed Office hopes to provide.â??