FOCUS SHORT

Slovak men avoid prostate checks

DESPITE the fact that prostate exams are an easy way to detect the early stages of prostate cancer and are fully covered by compulsory health insurance, only 6 percent of male Slovaks, or over 16,200 men, underwent preventive prostate exams last year. Doctors see low knowledge and unjustified concerns behind the low turnout, the TASR newswire wrote.

DESPITE the fact that prostate exams are an easy way to detect the early stages of prostate cancer and are fully covered by compulsory health insurance, only 6 percent of male Slovaks, or over 16,200 men, underwent preventive prostate exams last year. Doctors see low knowledge and unjustified concerns behind the low turnout, the TASR newswire wrote.

“Urological diseases are a delicate issue, especially for men,” said Ján Kliment, the chairman of the Slovak Urological Society, as cited by TASR. “Many of them are ashamed and afraid of visiting a urologist. Concerns are unjustified: the examination is simple and painless.”

Prostate cancer is the third most widespread oncologic disease among Slovak men. It is mostly diagnosed in men over the age of 50.

To get more men to undergo preventive urology exams, Slovakia participated in European Urology Week, held this year between September 23 and 27.

In general, Slovaks tend to skip preventive checks.

Health insurers report low turnout for preventive check-ups among adult clients. The biggest health insurer, the state-owned Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa, says only 15 percent of its clients schedule regular check-ups with a general practitioner.

Private insurers Dôvera and Union recorded 38 and 35 percent, respectively. The situation in terms of paediatric check-ups is better, as these are compulsory.

Based on data of the National Centre of Medical Information (NCZI), only 53.8 percent of people over the age of 19 or 2.2 million people had preventive dental check-ups in 2012, for example. More than 60 percent of them needed a follow-up treatment. Statistics also show that dentists in Slovakia extracted over 750,000 teeth last year. Based on Slovakia’s legislation, those who do not undergo preventive dental check-ups one year will have to cover dental treatment from their own pocket the following year.

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