Mind the gap: Cancer charity launches tailored support to close men’s health gap

3 November 2020

This Movember, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is launching a number of resources to help men lower their risk of cancer as well as improve their quality of life after a diagnosis, in order to help reduce the gender health gap.

Every year, around 6,000 more men than women develop cancer1 and this year, prostate cancer became the most common type in the UK, overtaking breast cancer for the first time.2 Men are also outlived by women in most countries.3 In the UK, the average life expectancy of women is 83 years compared to men’s 79.4

Reasons for this disparity include women being more likely to seek healthcare support, disclose symptoms, and receive a higher number of preventative diagnoses. There is also a link to unhealthy lifestyle habits more common in men, such as drinking alcohol and risk-taking. More men (28%) than women (14%) drink at a level that puts them at increased or higher risk of harm.5

For Movember, WCRF is launching an online support session dedicated to people living with prostate cancer. This closed Zoom group will be led by an oncology dietitian, and will be a safe space for men to ask questions and voice their experiences of prostate cancer. 

The charity has also published a Men’s health guide which is available for free online. This guide has practical advice and tips on how men can eat more healthily and be more active as part of their daily life, ultimately lowering their risk of cancer. WCRF has also created a brand-new booklet for people who have finished their cancer treatment, Healthy living after cancer. This resource will help men to lower their risk of cancer recurrence and improve their overall health and wellbeing, including mental health.

Matt Lambert, WCRF’s Health Information Officer, said: “I’ve been guilty of putting off doctor appointments – something that other men will probably be very familiar with. In fact, a recent study of 1,000 men found that three-quarters said they would put off going to their doctor even when showing signs of illness6. This Movember, we want men to get serious about their health. Our guides are filled with small, practical changes men can make to their daily routines that will not only help make them feel good but will mean they can stack the odds in their favour when it comes to cancer.”

Prof Martin Wiseman, WCRF’s Medical & Scientific Adviser, said: “When it comes to health men are the ones who are at a disadvantage, especially for cancer. After cancer, there can often be anxieties about what to eat, which is often made worse by the conflicting and mixed messages about what diet and lifestyle advice people should be following. Given that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many cancer patients are feeling isolated or left behind – and since men are also more likely to die from COVID-19 than women7 – it’s more important than ever that we eliminate any stigma and encourage men to seek reliable, evidence-based support and information such as that produced by WCRF.”

Ends

For more information and media enquiries contact Maxine Lenza, Senior Press and Communications Officer at WCRF, on 07717 131 883 or m.lenza@wcrf.org.

Notes to editors 

References

  1. Cancer statistics based on combined data from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland. World Cancer Research Fund, 2020.
  2. https://prostatecanceruk.org/about-us/news-and-views/2020/1/prostate-cancer-now-most-commonly-diagnosed-cancer-in-england
  3. https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/92/8/13-132795/en/  
  4. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/lifeexpectancies/bulletins/nationallifetablesunitedkingdom/2017to2019
  5. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-alcohol/2019/part-4
  6. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/almost-third-men-avoid-visiting-12715536
  7. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02483-2  

About World Cancer Research Fund: World Cancer Research Fund is part of a network of cancer charities with a global reach, dedicated to the prevention and survival of cancer through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and being more physically active. By funding and supporting research, developing policy guidance and providing health information, we ensure that people can make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of developing a preventable cancer.

Find out more: www.wcrf-uk.org
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