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Doctors challenge men to take charge of their health

15 June 2009

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Men are risking their lives by ignoring early health warnings, BMA Northern Ireland warned today (15 June 2009), and should be encouraged to visit their GP to get any health worries checked out.

Male life expectancy is almost five years lower than female life expectancy. Men aged 18–35 are almost four times as likely to die earlier than young women.

There are 14% more cancer cases in men than women, leading to 40% more deaths, with lung cancer being the most common. In the last 10 years rates of prostate cancer have increased by 46% while testicular cancer has increased by nearly 58%.

The BMA, together with the Men’s Health Forum, is challenging men in Northern Ireland to take charge of their health, and says health service providers should reflect on the type of services that are likely to be more amenable to men.

Men’s Health Week starts today and finishes on Fathers Day, Sunday 21 June 2009. The key theme for Men’s Health Week 2009 is access to services”, aimed at encouraging men to stop ignoring health problems and to seek help sooner rather than later.

Dr Ian Banks, BMA spokesman on men’s health issues and President of the European Men’s Health Forum, said: “It is a real concern to doctors that men delay going to their GP when they feel ill. This leads to the late diagnosis of serious medical conditions. Getting treatment at an earlier stage could result in an improved long-term outcome for certain diseases such as diabetes or testicular cancer.”

Noel Richardson, Chairman of the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, said: “Being sick or going to the doctor should not be seen as a personal weakness or ‘unmanly’. The consequences of not getting treatment at an early stage could be critical.

“Men need to challenge themselves to take charge of their health and visit their GP now instead of leaving things until it’s perhaps too late”.

BMA Northern Ireland