Men put off seeking prostate medical advice resulting in health anxiety and delayed diagnosis
Nearly half (49%) of men ‘bury their head in the sand’ when it comes to health-related matters
- 34% of men who have had prostate cancer admit their partner spotted the signs of a health issue and a further 35% that they needed their encouragement to see a doctor
- This encouragement is vital, as half of men admit they tend to ‘bury their head in the sand’ (49%). So much so, that while 86% are aware that an early cancer diagnosis can be lifesaving, 36% admit they have delayed seeking health advice, which has contributed to health anxiety
- Health anxiety is commonplace amongst men, with 81% harbouring health concerns – with their biggest health fear being a cancer diagnosis (22%) and prostate cancer, specifically one of the most commonly feared types (10%)
- The fear could be of the unknown, with more than half of Brits (51%) unaware of where the prostate is and even more (79%) unaware of what it does, or all of the physical symptoms that could indicate an issue (75%)
- GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research commissioned the research ahead of Men’s Health Awareness Month, as part of a campaign to inform men about the prostate and to encourage them to take control of their health. The campaign is being supported by TV presenter and prostate cancer survivor Dominic Littlewood. Watch the campaign video.
London, October 27th – New research* ahead of Men’s Health Awareness Month has shown that half of men (49%) don’t know where the prostate is and even more (78%) are unaware of all of the physical symptoms that could indicate an issue.
In fact, women are 27% more likely to know the symptoms and as a result, a man’s support network has been shown to be instrumental in encouraging them to seek potentially lifesaving medical advice when something might be wrong. A third (34%) of men that have received a prostate cancer diagnosis said it was their partner who spotted the signs – and 35% admit that their partner persuaded them to see a doctor. But it’s not just partners, as almost four in 10 (39%) men who have received a prostate cancer diagnosis said it took seeing someone they knew being diagnosed, to motivate them to see a doctor themselves.
The research carried out by leading global cancer care provider GenesisCare and charity Prostate Cancer Research shows that this encouragement is vital, as half of men admit they tend to ‘bury their head in the sand’ when it comes to health-related matters (49%). So much so, that while 86% are aware that an early cancer diagnosis can be lifesaving, 36% admit they have delayed seeking health advice, which has contributed to health anxiety.
These health anxieties are commonplace, with 81% of men saying they have concerns about their health, with a cancer diagnosis coming out as the top concern (22%) and prostate cancer, specifically (10%), as one of the most commonly feared types.
Men lack confidence when it comes to seeing a doctor too. More than one in four men (28%) admit they are not comfortable asking medical professionals questions or discussing symptoms (27%).
A worrying 43% stated they were uncomfortable asking questions about the treatment options available to them. The top reasons are finding it intimidating (38%) and worrying they won’t be able to explain what they mean (27%). Almost one in 10 (7%) said they didn’t feel the need, as “all cases will be treated the same”. However, this isn’t the case with a cancer diagnosis, as the appropriate treatment varies from patient to patient.
This Men’s Health Awareness Month, GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research are working together to empower men at every stage of their journey: how to spot potential signs, when to speak to medical professionals and how to discuss and access the best treatments available for them.
Dominic Littlewood, TV presenter and prostate cancer survivor comments: “Before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I had very little knowledge about the prostate or the signs that may mean something is wrong. I now know just how important is to be informed, as if my doctor hadn’t happened to spot a high PSA level for me when checking for something else, my experience could have been very different. This research has shown us that men’s reluctance to see a doctor isn’t just a stereotype. I hope reading this will encourage men to take control of their health and if they have any concerns, see a GP.”
Mr Philip Charlesworth, Consultant Urological Surgeon at GenesisCare adds: “I’ve treated prostate cancer patients for a number of years, and over that time have seen a significant lack of understanding of the disease which can lead to a delay in getting help. Another thing that has been consistent is that partners or other members of a man’s support group have often been the voice in the ear that encourages them to take action and see a GP in the first place. An early diagnosis can lead to greater treatment options and improved outcomes, so during Men’s Health Awareness Month, we hope that by increasing people’s understanding of the prostate and when something may be wrong, we can motivate men to come forward should they have concerns or observe symptoms, and not wait to be encouraged by loved ones when things may have progressed further. Being informed, knowing what your PSA levels are and knowing what is normal for you is key to catching cancer early”
Dr Naomi Elster, Head of Research and Communications at Prostate Cancer Research says: “This research highlights the importance of a man’s support network and asking questions to medical professionals, as those who asked questions were more than twice as likely to be more satisfied with their treatment. Cancers are not all treated the same and it’s important that your treatment is the best one for you. Now that we can see how much happier people are with their treatment if they’re comfortable asking questions, we really hope more do. While medical professionals are experts in their field, you are the expert when it comes to you, and open communication will help you to work together to find the best approach for you as an individual.”
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About the research
*Survey by OnePoll on behalf of GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research was completed by 2,000 UK nationally representative adults between 24 – 29 September 2021.
**22.31% of men know and 28.25% of women. Representing a 26.62% difference
GenesisCare delivers treatment to people with cancer and heart disease, the two largest disease burdens globally. We’re committed to leading the change in how care is given and are currently leading or participating in more than 150 clinical trials. The organisation employs more than 5,500 highly trained physicians, healthcare professionals and support staff across Australia, Europe, and now the U.S. This follows our acquisition of major U.S. integrated oncology provider 21st Century Oncology in May 2020.
Every year GenesisCare clinical teams see more than 400,000 people at more than 440 locations. For cancer treatment, that includes more than 300 locations in the U.S., 38 locations in Australia, 14 in the UK and 21 in Spain, with more than 30 new centres under development. We also offer cardiology and sleep services at more than 80 locations across Australia. Our purpose is to design care experiences that get the best possible life outcomes. We believe that care should be focused on the individual, not the condition, and are proud of our world-class patient satisfaction ratings. For more information visit www.genesiscare.com
About Prostate Cancer Research
Prostate Cancer Research are a research charity focused on delivering breakthrough medicines and treatments for prostate cancer, particularly the advanced stages of the disease. They use their deep understanding of both patient priorities and the research ecosystem to direct their funding where it will have the most impact. Over the past two years, they have more than trebled the amount of their research, and currently fund a breadth of research into topics such as AI, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and novel drug targets in multiple institutions across the UK. In March 2021 they launched their newest patient initiative, The Info pool (www.theinfopool.com). The info pool is a patient information and education website, co-created by patients and clinicians, where patients have the chance to find out about and engage with the latest developments in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.