Health statistics do not favor men. Men die about five years earlier than women and are much less likely to visit a doctor for an annual exam.

The main factor in men’s hesitancy to see a physician is education, said Thad Hardin, a primary care doctor in Conway.

“It’s hesitancy and education. Men don’t know what they don’t know until they find out they don’t know,” Hardin said. “They don’t know that the age to begin colon cancer screenings has moved from 50 to 45 or that it was 50 in the first place or that now there is screening for lung cancer if you smoked and you are over age 55.”

Four years ago, a group including Hardin and other physicians helped begin The Arkansas Duck Derby, which combines one of the state’s favorite pastimes with men’s health awareness efforts. The majority of the proceeds will be directed toward building a men’s health initiative, including a mobile health unit, to tackle some of the biggest health threats men face.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top causes of death among adult men in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke.

Ignoring these and other medical problems won’t make them go away, but that is what many men attempt to do. A survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic revealed that 40% of men only go to the doctor when they have a serious health issue, as opposed to scheduling routine checkups. Additionally, 21% of men avoid the doctor out of fear of finding out something might be wrong.

Increasing awareness can help remove the stigma of going to the doctor. Men can also take advantage of a number of screenings and services.

Each October, Conway Regional Health System and Arkansas Urology host a men’s prostate education and screening event. The system also provides wellness and health services to local businesses, including screenings, flu shot clinics and other health-related services like discounted heart and health and wellness screenings.

Finally, if doctor visits make many men nervous, a handful of lifestyle changes can make those visits much more pleasant.

5 Lifestyle Changes For Taking Charge of Your Health

  • Don’t smoke. If you do, ask your doctor to help you quit. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and chemicals.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats, and foods with added sugar and sodium.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • Get moving. Making enjoyable exercise choices can help you control your weight, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and possibly lower your risk of certain cancers. All physical activity benefits health.
  • Limit alcohol. If you drink, do so only in moderation. That means up to two drinks a day if you are age 65 or younger and one drink a day if you are older than 65. Moderation can lower the risk of cancers, especially liver cancer. Too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under pressure, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce or deal with stress — exercise, meditation, hobbies — in healthy ways.

About the Hunt

The fourth annual Arkansas Duck Derby begins with a competitive duck hunt on the morning of Jan. 7, with a socially distanced community event that evening at the University of Central Arkansas HPER Center. The event includes dinner, drinks, a gun raffle, virtual, silent and live auctions, men’s and women’s raffles and big ticket items. Plans must conform to state department of health limitations related to COVID-19 events. Proceeds benefit the Conway Regional Health System.

For more information about the derby and team sponsorships visit

Landowners who would like to donate their property for the one-day hunt, and prospective sponsors, may contact Anne Cadle at