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EDITIONS
Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Men risking lives through neglect
GP checking patient
Men are failing to have regular health checks
Men are being condemned to an early grave because of neglect and a health bias against them, warn health experts.

Many men are dying prematurely and the poorer and less skilled are at the greatest risk.

Excess drinking, high suicide rates, obesity, a lack of general health checks and a failure to check themselves regularly for testicular cancer are all blamed for the poor life expectancy.


Too many men, especially in the lower income groups, are dying too young and suffering from unnecessarily poor health

Dr Ian Banks, of the Men's Health Forum
The average man can expect to be seriously or chronically ill for at least 15 years of his life, yet many are still reluctant to visit their GP and those who do are often embarrassed to discuss their problems with female surgery staff.

There are no routine cancer screening services for men, unlike women who are screened for cervical and breast cancer.

The Men's Health Forum said there had been no general improvement in men's health over the last three decades, and in some areas, such testicular cancer and liver disease, things had got decidedly worse.

Dr Ian Banks, president of the Men's Health Forum, said it was time for action.

"Men's health statistics continue to be a shocking indictment of the way health policies and services have sidelined men.

'Inequalities'

"Too many men, especially in the lower income groups, are dying too young and suffering from unnecessarily poor health.

"It is now time to stop talking about these problems and time to take action to solve them."

The Men's Health Forum is now calling for a national men's health policy to tackle problems like obesity, alcohol misuse and poor sexual health.

Latest statistics on men's health compared to 1971 show:

  • Death rates for men 16-34 have not improved
  • Suicide rates for men aged 15-24 have more than doubled
  • Prostate cancer rates have increased by 135%
  • Testicular cancer cases have more than doubled
  • The number of men aged 25-64 dying from chronic liver disease has increased fivefold mainly due to alcohol misuse
  • The proportion of obese men has tripled since 1980
  • Unskilled manual men still have below average life expectancy

    In its report, 'Getting It Sorted', the Forum lists 46 recommendations for improving men's health.

    Public Health Minister Hazel Blears said: "One of the biggest health inequalities that exists is between men and women.

    "A man is likely to die on average five years earlier than a woman - the gap is even wider for men from low-income backgrounds.

    "The government has made clear its determination to improve health across the board and tackle such inequalities.

    "We need to ensure that men have suitable health information and easy access to health care services and support when problems arise.

    On June 10th the Men's Health Forum is launching a consumer health site for men - www.malehealth.co.uk - at the start of their National Men's Health Week.

  • See also:

    22 Feb 01 | Health
    24 May 99 | Health
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