Fewer than 2 in 100 men between the ages of 40 and 64 get screened for prostate cancer. According to the Mount Sinai Health System and the Milana Family Foundation, the problem is cultural. With the unveiling of Mount Sinai’s “Man Cave” prostate health and treatment center, they’re hoping to change the conversation.
“Men take better care of their cars than they take care of their own bodies,” said Dr. Tewari, who is the chairman of urology at Mount Sinai.
Many men wait until their symptoms become debilitating before they seek treatment, Mount Sinai claims. With many kinds of prostate cancer, however, symptoms don’t appear until it’s too late.
“Once they advance to a later-stage form of the cancer, they are virtually untreatable,” said a Michael Kosowski, a press spokesperson for Man Cave.
For Tewari, this has to do with men fearing for the sanctity of their sense of masculinity. Men don’t see their doctor because they want to avoid seeming weak.
“Real weakness is not finding out the problem,” he claims.
The solution, proposed and funded by Tom Milana of the Milana Family Foundation, is one of aesthetics and pandering. Mount Sinai’s Man Cave treatment center is designed to look like the sort of TV room he imagines many men have in their own homes, with televisions playing sports and signed balls and memorabilia displayed on the walls. The foundation is currently trying to fundraise $5 million for the project.
“Interior design and cutting-edge medical services are saving lives,” Kosowski added.
Men made nervous by plainer hospital waiting rooms will find themselves more comfortable in the Man Cave, the thinking goes, and follow through with necessary prostate examinations or cancer treatment.
“Maybe you’ll watch TV and forget why you came here,” Milana said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
A New York Times poll in December of 2014 found that 24 percent of Americans would be less likely to see a doctor and 31 percent have gone without treatment they knew they needed because of rising health care costs.
“Just as we want to win in sports,” said Tewari, “we want to win in the battle between cancer and men.”