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Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 01:12 GMT
Men 'don't seek medical help'
Men are putting themselves at risk by refusing to act on symptoms of bad health, research has said.
Almost a third of men under 40 do nothing about bad health in the hope that illness will "go away", according to a survey from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB).
The survey also showed that more than half of men under 40 do not frequently go to a pharmacy to get advice or treatment for minor illnesses such as flu, sore throats, ear ache and skin conditions.
The RPSGB said it was "typical of men to bury their heads in the sand" rather than seek professional help.
A GP specialising in men's health warned that turning a blind eye could mean that more serious conditions go undetected or are not treated in the early stages when side effects are less serious.
But more than half of men who go to a pharmacist ask for advice on non-prescription medicines.
Just 10% of those questioned said they had a preference for seeing a male pharmacist. The number wanting to see a man rose to 25% for sexual health issues.
Roger Odd, of the RPSGB, said: "The results of the survey show that there is evidently a major neglect of use of pharmacy services by men.
"Men owe it to themselves to take the time to look after their health. The first step for minor conditions is to see a pharmacist."
Dr Mike Kirby, a GP in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, said men avoided consulting professionals on their health.
He told BBC News Online: "Men are unfamiliar with attending medical practices because they don't have to go for contraception and they don't tend to bring in the baby - women do.
"Men say 'If I leave it, it will get better'. Women are more likely to talk about things.
"I don't think it matters which medical professional they go and speak to as long as that medical professional is able to say 'Yes, this is important, it needs investigating,' or 'No, don't worry about it'."
He said previous research had indicated men on average leave prostate cancer symptoms untreated for around four years. And testicular cancer, if not detected early, can lead to the need for chemotherapy treatment which can cause men to become infertile.