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Men more likely to ignore cancer symptoms

Men more likely to ignore cancer symptoms

Men have a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer than women as they ignore symptoms, new research has found.

Cancer Research U.K. found that 179,000 males develop the disease each year, compared to 173,000 females. Over 2,300 people with 15 different variations of cancer were studied and men were found more likely to delay seeking a professional opinion.

Overall, 44 per cent of men suffering prostate cancer put off going to the doctors for three months of more, while only eight per cent of women with breast cancer didn’t seek help for their symptoms.

Because of this, men are 15 per cent more likely to develop cancer, but also 36 per cent more likely to die from it than the opposite sex, the study found.

“Malignant melanoma is a type of cancer that is more common in women than men but still more men die of it even though more women have it,” said Dr John Chisholm.

“There are various reasons for this - men are not as aware of the symptoms of cancer as women — such as swelling, unexplained weight loss or bleeding.

“Men also tend to delay going to get their symptoms checked out — they are perhaps more worried about the diagnosis then women and are less familiar with the healthcare system.”

Further, Macmillan cancer care found men are hit harder with the diagnosis, as 50 per cent of newly diagnosed males suffer depression and anxiety.

Dr Frances Goodhart, a consultant clinical psychologist in independent practice in London, thinks more support should be offered to men, who have higher levels of anxiety and depression than women. In 2013, a study published in the British Journal of Cancer found eight in ten men weren’t getting the help they need.

“They are aimed towards discussion about hair loss, fertility post treatment — it all very much focuses on women,” Dr Goodhart said.

“There is clear evidence that women find it easier to express their needs and talk about their concerns and to accept help. Yet men are different and people need to give them permission to talk about their feelings so they feel they can say: ‘I’m feeling down, vulnerable etc’.”

The findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

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