UK Men refuse to face up to health issues

Thursday 19 November 2015
Almost 50% of men would wait to see if health issue goes away rather than see a doctor.

Research today from Nuffield Health reveals just how uncomfortable men are when it comes to discussing their health and how it is preventing them from taking up potentially life-saving screening services for prostate and testicular cancers.  

More than 2,000 men were surveyed and it was revealed that a quarter of these men (25 per cent) have a health concern that they have not discussed with a GP. Further to this, almost half of those surveyed (46 per cent) said they would wait for a few weeks to see if their condition improved before visiting their GP with a health concern. 

This reluctance to discuss health concerns was reiterated by the fact that almost a third of those surveyed revealed that they never talk about their health concerns. Further to this, more than 1 in 5 admitted they are uneasy or embarrassed to discuss their health, something that was clear from the fact that one in seven men revealed they hadn’t seen a GP in 3 years. 

Six men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each dayi yet, even though it is widely encouraged for men under the age of 40 to have regular testicular examinations, 55 per cent of men in this age group admitted to never having had one. This was echoed for men over the age of 50, the age at which it is recommended that men start to consider having prostate examinations, where 53% of men aged 50+ revealed they have never had a prostate examination.

Working with the Movember Foundation Men’s Health campaign, Nuffield Health wants to encourage men to be more open about discussing their health concerns and raise awareness of the symptoms of prostate and testicular cancer. Dr Auldric Ratajczak, Nuffield Health Deputy Medical Director for Wellbeing, will be hosting a live online Q&A session on prostate cancer on 25 November along with a former prostate cancer patient. 

“Men are sometimes reluctant to mention their health worries as they think it will affect their masculinity, but prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and over 2,200 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year. The fact that so many men in the UK are not having these examinations is very concerning. As GPs our role is to help and guide where possible.  We have the same health anxieties as our patients but it is really important to realise that delaying talking about it won’t make the issue go away. The manly thing to do is also the sensible thing to do.” said Dr Auldric Ratajczak.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20-35ii yet the research showed many men under the age of 40 were not aware of the main symptoms, which can include: a dull ache or sharp pain in the testicles, something that 43 per cent of those surveyed were unaware of; a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, something that over half of men weren’t aware of; and a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum, something that 60 per cent of men weren’t aware of. 

When men over the age of 50 were questioned about their knowledge of the symptoms of prostate cancer a similar picture was revealed. Symptoms of prostate cancer include: needing to urinate more frequently, something that almost a third of those surveyed were unaware of; needing to rush to the toilet, a symptom that a huge 62 per cent of men weren’t aware of; difficulty in starting to urinate, something that 42 per cent of men weren’t aware of; and having a weak urine flow, something that almost half of men surveyed (47 per cent) weren’t aware of. 

Nuffield Health will be hosting a live online prostate cancer Q and A discussion from 7.30pm to 8.30pm on 25h November with Dr Auldric Ratajczak and a former prostate cancer patient, Tom Gowers. To submit your questions and follow the conversation, visit www.nuffieldhealth.com/menshealthqanda 


iCancer Research UK, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/test... 

iiNHS, http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/men1839/Pages/Menshealthweek.aspx

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