A survey last month for the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign suggested that nearly twice as many men as women had not visited their GP in the past year.
Evidence suggests fewer men go to dentists or ask the pharmacist for advice and information, or attend contraception clinics, although men are more likely to end up in the hospital because they delay for so long. Even male cancer helplines are used more by women, speaking on behalf of partners, fathers or sons. And the fact that more women get skin cancer than men but more men die from it, indicates how late men are going to doctors. Men are slowly getting better at it, says Mike Shallcross, associate editor of Men's Health magazine, but the contrast is made between men's attitude to testicular lumps and women checking their breasts for potential tumours."There's that fear when you find a lump on your testicle of thinking 'If I go to the doctor he'll just lop it off', which is the standard treatment, but you can get by perfectly with the one. But in the vast majority of cases, it's not cancer at all and you've done the right thing and got a weight off your mind." "Men could learn from women about attitudes to health. I would characterise it as the way they treat their cars. Women drive very carefully and make sure they take it into the garage at the right time but men just put their foot down until it's knackered."
Historically women have always been the custodians of health in the family," he says. "They have cervical screening and breast screening and they take the kids to the GP. But men don't do any of that and tend to be much more reluctant to go when they have symptoms."
By Tom Geoghegan, BBC News Magazine