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Is there a gender gap in cancer care?

The reluctance of men to adopt a healthy lifestyle and visit the doctor may be fuelling a gender gap in cancer cases and deaths, experts say. Are men more reluctant to seek medical help?

Among cancers which affect both sexes, men are 60% more likely to develop the disease and 70% more likely to die from it, Cancer Research UK said. There is no known biological reason for this but it may be because women take better care of themselves, they said.

Professor Alan White, chairman of the Men's Health Forum, said men were generally less aware that factors such as smoking, carrying excess weight around the waist, having a high alcohol intake, contributed to an increased cancer risk. However, he said more research was needed on the causes of the gender gap and services needed to do more to reach out to men.

Are men more reluctant to seek medical help? What can be done to close the gender gap? What are your experiences?

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Published: Monday, 15 June, 2009, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK

can working be regarded as so important that you would jepardise your health...

model citizen, London

Cemetaries are full of 'indispencable' people; does YOUR employeer know anything about YOU. If YOU died today, would they care? With minimal historical-knowledge jobs-for-life [council, bank...] & immortal-businesses [typewriters...] are illusory; YOUR health is MORE important.

Increasing income-tax unavoidable; fund tests, database-interrogation; choice-of-one, death not acceptable.

Stephen Dawson, Manchester, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK

(15 June, 2009, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK)

"I had no idea there were so many angry and bitter men out there! What on earth have you got to be so resentful about? "

MW, London

Uh, the fact that we're much more likely to die from cancer than you are, but receive much less support.
...
"For goodness sake stop whining. You don't know when you're well off."

Thank you for this demonstration of empathy in relation to a very frightening disease. No wonder men are so reluctant to seek treatment.

Tim, Leicestershire

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK

Before we go slagging off GPs too much....

Firstly there are some rubbish GPs, some are better than others in certain aspects of medicine.Most GPS are excellent

They are not mystics .They have to make an educated guess. Unless they slit you open and have a rummage around inside thats all they can do.

We have turned into a blame/litigation society ..another great US import.

My GP treat both myself and my Good lady well. Be greatful its free. .................................(ish)

[Dennisbach], Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK

My dad died of bowel cancer and I am sure that had he sought doctor's advice, it would have been caught in good time and he'd still be here.
He died on his 63rd birthday in agony.
Unfortunately, doctor's services don't tend to work towards providing a service to working men as surgery hours are usually during the day, so men tend to hope any problem will go away.
Whereas women are more used to going to the doctor's, especially when they have young children.

Andrew Lye, Johnston, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK

Genetic-disease [Google Nf1] saw my DNA registered Great Ormand Street Hospital [GOSH] 1992. With a 50% chance of passing-on to next-generation IVF is essential.

Sudden-death of children, rugby-players... highlights need to rename DNA-database as Homeland-Security with entire-population registered in perpetuity to automatically 'call-in' those at increased-risk [swine-flu, heart-attack...].

Cancer-survivor, I fail to see why anybody objects to check-ups, registration, student-observation..

Stephen Dawson, Manchester, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK

Many men (sad submissives) have been beaten into 2nd place. As men, we have given a lot, but now there is definite inequality biased towards women. We REAL men must re-assert ourselves, for the sake of our future!
[ChillOutPlease]
Beaten into 2nd place? So thats how you regard the position that REAL men should hold in society? Number 1, top of the pile and lording it over everyone else. How sad and insecure. People do not seek equality to be no 1, the seek it to have the same rights as others

Mary Catherine McCusker, Glasgow

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer, with around 7% of all cancer cases being of the breast. Compare with testicular, which is only around 8000 each year, and has a very high survivability rate.

Doctor

If you really were a doctor, which given your comment is extremely unlikely, you would know that the issue is prostate cancer - and that cancer is now the leading killer of men. This DEMANDS attention, but sadly in this female-focused society I won't hold my breath.

Election Please, Hampshire, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 05:53 GMT 06:53 UK

Went to my GP. Told the lump I had was a pulled muscle. 2 weeks later went back and was referred to a consultant who decided I needed emergency surgery. Turned out I had an aggressive epitheliod sarcoma. Very rare evidently I was told. Oncology clinic at Addenbrookes is marvellous. I had been told I had 9months to a year. 6 years down the line I'm writing this. GP is now up to date on my case. No gender gap. Just a fear of finding out what if something is wrong I Think.

[alamolicious], peterborough, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 24:35 GMT 01:35 UK

The hilarious tag, "man flu" that women tend to assign to any illness blokes get doesn't encourage men to talk about their health seriously or take the appropriate action.
Pete Quinn, Ross on Wye

Why on earth do you listen to them?

Steve, London

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 24:24 GMT 01:24 UK

The nationa abounds with 'well-woman' clinics, but it's rare to find a 'well-man' clinic.

Basically, the medical profession doesn't take men seriously, so is it little wonder that men don't take themselves seriously?

After all, in this female-biased society in which we now live, many men (sad submissives) have been beaten into 2nd place. As men, we have given a lot, but now there is definite inequality biased towards women. We REAL men must re-assert ourselves, for the sake of our future!

[ChillOutPlease], Barton-upon-Humber, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 24:22 GMT 01:22 UK

Now it's mentioned, I can't really think of any 'mens health' advertising drives. It's hard to know if this is a good thing, or a bad thing.
I've always felt rather sorry for women. They seem to spend much of their waking hours worrying about some bodily function or other, surrounded by dire warnings about some terrible disease, or condition, that, the advert implies, they almost certainly have.

Steve, London

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 24:16 GMT 01:16 UK

When I was 41, I went for the 'Well Man at 40' or something, checkup. They did a blood test, weighed me, and measured my height. It later turned out that the only thing they did with my blood was test the cholesterol.
I guess they confirmed that I was well, in the sense of being alive. If you live under the premise that doctors are (a)competent, or (b)even faintly interested in other people's health, then, frankly, you deserve what you get,

Steve, London

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 24:16 GMT 01:16 UK

Why don’t doctors give a written response to a consultation, that you can take away with you ... may be some of these dismissals of symptoms would not occur.

[john1917], Reading

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Added: Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 24:04 GMT 01:04 UK

My partner had a mamogram, was recalled, had a 2nd mamogram, then a biopsy, diagnosed with breast cancer, radical mastectomy & reconstruction, all within 2 months! End of treatment!

I have colon polyps, which they are waiting to become cancerous before taking action (could be 1-5 yrs), then I've been told what to expect: major surgery, removal of part of my bowel, & a 'temporary' colostomy. I'm supposed to feel great with this 'news'!

Medicine definitely treats men & women differently!

[ChillOutPlease], Barton-upon-Humber, United Kingdom

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Added: Monday, 15 June, 2009, 23:26 GMT 00:26 UK

It doesn’t need a study to prove what is blatantly obvious, men are a bit silly when it comes to their own health, especially things down below. So the real problem is this unexplainable stupidity in men.

How about compulsory annual check-ups, similar to dental check-ups, but excluding teeth. You’d get a certificate if you pass to say that your body was OK for another year and your ID card would be updated electronically to avoid octogenarian fraud.

Now that’s not stupid, is it?

[Phil_Sykes]

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