February 20, 2009

Doctor films prostate exams, colonoscopies

Tribal physician examines the ‘Unknown’ in new docDr. Arne Vainio knew “Walking Into the Unknown” was something he had to do when he realized he was a hypocrite.

“I was increasingly frustrated with people, mostly men, not wanting to be screened for diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol,” the Fond du Lac physician wrote in one of his pieces for News From Indian Country. “Prostate exams and colonoscopies were out of the question for many of them. These are men, they do not allow anyone to stick a finger or a scope into their rectum (the actual phrases used were a little more colorful).”

In the same column he admitted that, even as he watched some of the reservation’s men die because they refused to come in for standard screenings, he could’ve been a lot more proactive when it came to his own health.

Enter “Walking Into the Unknown,” the Nate Maydole-directed documentary that follows Vainio as he navigates through the health care system that many American Indian men are reluctant to embrace.
And:“As I was addressing those things and going to all my visits and screenings—my colonoscopy and all that stuff—all that was filmed,” said Vainio, who is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. “Those are things that men are afraid of; they won’t go in for it.”

Vainio said, yes, Maydole’s cameras were intrusive most of the time, but, again, he felt it was all for a good cause.

“My prostate exam is on there, and there were four cameras in that room,” he said. “It could’ve been a lot more graphic than it was, but, still, it’s pretty graphic. When we first saw the film, my wife, Ivy, was like, ‘You can’t show that.’ But we did, we kept it in there, because it’s important for people to see what that is.”

He hopes that “Walking Into the Unknown,” which was produced by his wife and primarily funded by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, will help to quell any fears some may have about going in for uncomfortable-but-necessary medical procedures and screenings.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.


Johnny said...

What a good idea!
Hopefully it will possibly help more guys get up the courage to go in and see a doctor.

Unknown said...

Well that's one movie I think I can afford to skip. Also I don't really think it's just a guy thing; most people of either gender are uncomfortable with 'that sort of thing'.

Rob said...

Maybe this is the movie's slogan: "Get a colonoscopy or we'll force you to watch this film."