Most men know more about a woman's monthly cycle
than they do about their own body and its sexual
health. A recent survey showed that males are
more knowledgeable about breast cancer and
pre-menstrual syndrome than about testicular
cancer or prostate gland enlargement. This is
surprising, considering that:
- 80 per cent of males will eventually need
treatment for prostate problems
- prostate cancer is as common as female
- testicular cancer is the commonest
malignancy in males between the ages of 20 and
Even if a man does recognize he has a health
problem, he frequently ignores it in the hope it
will go away. Four out of every five males admit
to taking too long before seeking medical
advice. This is borne out by the fact that, of
those people who do not consult their doctor at
least once per year, over two thirds are male.
Men are four times less likely to consult a
doctor about their health worries than women, but are more likely to have an emergency
admission to hospital with serious illnesses
such as a heart attack or stroke.
One problem is that men are not used to
discussing embarrassing subjects, or having
intimate investigations performed. This may be a
cultural difference, as research shows.
Male health desperately needs improving. Men
are more likely to die prematurely at any age up
to 65 than a woman born in the same year:
- an 18-year-old male has an 80 per cent
chance of surviving to the age of 65; an
18-year-old female has an 88 per
cent chance of surviving to the age of 65.
- Men have an average life expectancy of 72,
compared with 78 for women.
Many of the reasons why males tend to die
younger than women are related to differences in
diet and lifestyle. Health professionals are now
targeting males in an attempt to improve their
health. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, there is considerable room for improvement:
- 45 per cent of men are overweight.
- 13 per cent of men are obese-almost
double the figure of four years ago.
- 80 per cent of men do not exercise at least
three times per week.
- 60 per cent of middle-aged men are totally
- Twice as many men drink above the
recommended safe alcohol maximum than women.
- Seven out of every eight males has at least
one risk factor for coronary heart disease and
stroke (raised blood pressure, abnormal
cholesterol level, smoking, lack of exercise).
- Only 25 per cent of males with high blood
pressure have their condition controlled by
- Men aged 55-74 are more than twice as
likely to have had a heart attack or stroke than
a woman of the same age.
In addition, over the last 50 years the male
sperm count has almost halved, probably due to
adverse dietary, lifestyle and environmental
factors. There are many simple steps a man can
take to significantly improve the quality and
quantity of his sperm-if only he knew what
they were. These steps can make the difference
between subfertility and fertility.