To many men, there are less things more sacred than their “own space.” In my home, I have my backyard fire pit, my garage workshop, and my kitchen where I hone my culinary prowess. However, these all pale in comparison to the one place I spend the majority of my time—my man cave.
Adorned with a 55-inch TV, plentiful Marvel Comics memorabilia, a love seat recliner that just barely fit through the door, and a large collection of my favorite books and movies, there is no place I feel more at ease than within those 144 square feet. Most importantly—it is the one place my wife isn’t allowed to hang any Hobby Lobby purchases on the walls. It’s my sanctuary; my home within my home; my command center.
Compare this feeling of comfort in a man cave to a doctor’s office waiting room. While the former is cozy and inviting, the latter is usually sterile, cold, and unwelcoming. Man Cave Health wants to blend the two spaces—the den-like atmosphere of a man cave with the important and necessary needs of a medical facility—to help encourage men to be more proactive in their health habits. I had the opportunity to speak with Jackie Lomtevas, Executive Director of Man Cave Health, about this new endeavor.
Inside the Man Cave
This fresh idea to getting men in the door has its roots in the mind of Thomas Milana, Jr. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 48. At the time of his diagnosis, he found that there was no positive information available to men on the internet about prostate cancer, a topic men don’t enjoy discussing to begin with. Tom decided that he needed to change that and wanted to give men a place they can feel comfortable talking about their health concerns.
In essence, The Man Cave is a state-of-the-art sports-themed waiting room within The Department of Urology at Mount Sinai Health System at 625 Madison Avenue in New York City. While my man cave in my house has various members of the Avengers hanging on the walls, this man cave has memorabilia from all eight major New York sports teams—including a NY Islanders jersey, signed by the entire team.
The Man Cave serves as a destination for men seeking information about their prostate health. Additionally, men can undergo both screening and treatment for prostate cancer at the facility. The décor and even the name are meant to evoke a sense of familiarity for patients and guests, to put men at ease while discussing their personal health issues. Though their launching focus is on prostate health, one has to wonder if the various footballs, baseballs, and basketballs help remind men to take care of their own balls.
How the Man Cave has helped improve men’s health
So far, says Lomvetas, “the idea has been very well-received. We’re definitely creating a buzz, and we’ve already been successful in getting men to open up and speak freely about their prostate health.
It’s definitely brought men into The Department of Urology and gotten them screened. We haven’t been advised about any diagnoses; health privacy laws likely preclude that level of follow-up. But we are very confident that any men being treated through our Man Cave at Mount Sinai are in the very best hands.”
If you’re in the area and want to check it out, appointments can be made by calling (212) 241-9955.
The importance and the future of Man Cave Health
Launching Man Cave Health has been a crucial first step in changing the way men view their health care. This unique patient care model encourages men to take a more active role in their health care, and that’s an important part of the process. As a male myself, I know feeling comfortable in a doctor’s office is so important, especially when dealing with matters are sensitive and private. In the next five years, their goal is to open twelve to fifteen more Man Cave facilities across the country.
Ms. Lomtevas says, “All men deserve to have access to this kind of quality patient care. We will definitely branch out to treat other conditions for men. Tom’s philosophy is that if we can get men in the door for a PSA we can also test and treat them for any other condition. The overall idea is that men need to know that they can take control of their own healthcare journey.”
Why does Man Cave Health think men are so reluctant to open up their health?
“That’s an interesting question,” Lomvetas said. “The answer likely varies among men. Men do tend to be more tight-lipped than women in general. Prostate health is also quite a sensitive topic, which may be why some men are reluctant to talk about it.
The important thing to note here is that we’ve started the conversation, and more men are chiming in every day. We’re well on our way to creating a culture where men know that it’s okay to have health concerns, and it’s okay to discuss them openly and without hesitation.”
Would you be more likely to attend to your male-specific health issues in a place like the Man Cave?