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Monday, October 5, 1998 Published at 01:21 GMT 02:21 UK


Men at sea over 'Big C'

Many men need a lifestyle change

Many men underestimate the risks of cancer and do little to look after their health, according to a survey.

The poll for the charity Marie Curie Cancer Care shows that only 23% of men feel well informed about the cancers which most affect them and more than half admit their wives or partners know more about the subject.

George Ekyn reports on why men are behaving badly with their health
Just 11% can correctly state that they have a one in three chance of getting a cancer. A third of men are wildly optimistic on the subject, thinking only one in 100 get the disease.

"It's very sad that many men don't take more interest in their health, " says Marie Curie Director Dr Elaine Farmery.

"We don't want them to become hypochondriacs but we would like to feel they were making informed choices. This research shows that only 11% of respondents recognise the true risks of cancer so perhaps it's no wonder they have a lackadaisical approach."

Healthy lifestyle

The survey also reveals that less than a third of men go for regular health check-ups and nearly half take no form of regular exercise.

Those who consider themselves well informed on the subject list testicular cancer among the top three male cancers when the most common are lung, skin and prostate.

Seventy per cent of respondents recognise that the sun can cause cancer, yet only 16% are able to put skin cancer correctly in the top bracket.

The Marie Curie poll also throws up some myths. Nearly a quarter of men questioned think stress can trigger cancer when no medical evidence exists to support this - and less than half are able to identify an unhealthy diet as one of the main contributory factors.

The charity says it is a dull fact of life but 70% of cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, adopting a high-fibre, low animal-fat diet, cutting down on alcohol, covering up in the sun and not becoming too overweight.

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