Men cancer aware but ill-prepared for the future

Nia Williams

June 8, 2009

This is despite over 80,000 men dying of cancer each year, over 52,000 dying of coronary heart disease and over 21,000 dying from a stroke.

The research, released in advance of Men’s Health Week 2009, reveals that 56% of men in the UK are aware of the risks of cancer and regularly check themselves for cancerous signs such as lumps and moles. Not surprisingly there is a significant gap in their knowledge with almost three quarters not knowing how to check themselves for breast cancer and prostate cancer, and 34% of men not knowing how to check for testicular cancer.

Nearly a third (30%) of men acknowledge that they are concerned about their health and don’t look after themselves as much as they should, while 27% of men occasionally worry about their health but try to balance this with enjoying themselves.

This attitude towards their health is mirrored in men’s attitudes towards their finances, as over half (53%) of men feel that they take risks with their finances. In addition to the 90% of men who do not have critical illness cover;

• 93% do not have redundancy cover

• 87% do not have private medical cover

• 87% do not have income protection

• 81% do not have a will

• 71% do not have life insurance

Mark Jones, head of protection at Friends Provident, said: “The ways in which men are regularly taking risks with both their health and finances could have a devastating effect on those men who will unfortunately suffer from a critical illness. We are raising awareness of this issue and urging men to take action now to protect themselves for the future, both in terms of their finances and looking after their health.

“During 2008 Friends Provident paid out to 306 men who had cancer -related critical illness claims. However, the risks of contracting cancer and other critical illnesses are still being underestimated and men are not checking for signs.”

The research also revealed that:

• Almost a third of men (30%) avoid acknowledging serious health problems in their immediate family and 17% do not know if there are any serious health problems in their immediate family and don’t talk about them.

• A fifth (22%) of men have revealed that if a friend or member of their family was ill due to neglecting their health it would make them take more notice of their own health.

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