Search

SCPNBlog

Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

Category

Diet

Do We Forget About Men?

Monday marked the start of #MensHealthWeek 2018, so are WE as a nation doing enough to help men look after their health?!  We know when it comes to health, men are less likely to talk to each other about their concerns and are less likely to visit their GP so here are some, perhaps surprising, facts about men…

  • In Scotland 1 in 4 men (1 in 5 in the UK) dies before the age of 65 (and are more likely than women to die prematurely).1
  • Scottish life expectancy for men is 77.1 years and 81.1 years for women (2014),2 or in another way, on average men are living two hours fewer per day compared to women!1,3
  • Men have a higher risk of getting cancer than women.4
  • Men are less likely to survive cancer compared to women,5 with UK data showing that for cancers shared by both men and women, men are 67% more likely to die.6
  • Around 30% of male deaths are attributable to cancer.5,7

So why do men fare less well compared to women? Let’s think about one example, colorectal cancer, which is a major public health problem in Scotland and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. However, it is also one of the cancers where there is good evidence that in many cases it can be prevented and it has a high success rate when detected at an early stage. Men are at an increased risk of the disease and also have poorer survival. Despite these statistics men are much less likely to take up the invitation for bowel cancer screening, a biennial national programme which is offered to both men and women once they turn 50 (uptake 52.8% men and 59.1% women), and is even lower in men from poorer backgrounds (40.7%).8 Why do we think this is?

It is estimated that 4 in 10 cancers can be prevented largely through making changes to our lifestyle, for example, by not smoking, keeping a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet.9 SO how do men do when it comes to preventative behaviours? Well, we know that men are more likely…

  • to be overweight (BMI >25) and carry dangerous excess fat around the waist,10 but only make up one in ten patients attending commercial weight loss programmes and are under-represented in weight loss trials.
  • to smoke and drink.
  • to consume red and processed meats and are less aware of the link between the consumption of these meats and the increased risk of colorectal cancer.11

 

 

SO is there any good news?

Well yes, some… Men are much more likely to be physically active compared to women, although activity levels do decrease with age. Men actually DO go to see their GP just as much as women – but only after they retire, and a further example to show that men ARE interested in looking after their health is demonstrated by abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening, which sees 84% of men attending clinic for a one off screen when they turn 65.12

 

 

SO what can we learn from this and how can we help to address the gender gap when it comes to men’s health? We need better, more innovative ways to engage men and communicate both health and cancer prevention messages. Where do men currently receive health information if they don’t talk to each other and only attend their GP once they’ve retired?  Do men need their own equivalent of ‘Women’s Own’? Perhaps we can also learn from the recent movement in Men’s Sheds that are spreading out across Scotland, set up to provide men with a place to pursue practical interests and build social connections, where they are free to pop in for a cup of tea and a chat and spend time in the workshop.13

The key and recurring phrase we hear is “Men don’t talk face to face. They talk shoulder to shoulder”.

break-coffee-cup-374862

 

References

Advertisements

Shape the future of food in Scotland

Food and drinks – their composition, the way in which we eat them, the way they are processed, the food patterns we consume are important for cancer prevention. The European Code against cancer highlights three main areas:

Have a healthy diet:

  • Eat plenty of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit high-calorie foods (foods high in sugar or fat) and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid processed meat; limit red meat and foods high in salt

Yes what a long way we Scots are from achieving these food choices or anything like our Scottish dietary goals. 

Food concerns aren’t just health they span food security, poverty, equity and climate change to name a few topics and in Scotland we have an opportunity to get our views on the table.

Here Celia Nyssens from Nourish Scotland encourages us to get round the table and get our voices heard.

The SCPN are scheduling ours for next months…. All voices need to be heard

Prof Annie S. Anderson

KTT-banner
Photo Credit: Scottish Food Coalition

For 10 weeks, until 15th April, the Scottish Food Coalition is inviting everyone in Scotland with an interest in food to do Kitchen Table Talks and shape the Good Food Nation agenda.

The Scottish Government will consult on a Good Food Nation Bill in 2018. This Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address some of the big challenges we are facing. From food insecurity, to diet-related diseases, to agricultural pollution, climate change, and biodiversity decline; our food system is not working for most people, or for our planet. Continue reading “Shape the future of food in Scotland”

Paper of the Year 2017: Professor Bob Steele and Professor Annie Anderson

We asked SCPN friends and advisors to tell us about a report/paper/findings/work on cancer screening and prevention that has been published this year and has made them stop and think. The works span a wide range of areas from very detailed scientific investigation, reviews of physical activities, and blogs of model work. We find them a complete inspiration. When only 3% of the NCRI research budget is spent on prevention and virtually nil on implementation research; these papers provide a window on some of the very good reasons why cancer screening and prevention should be a leading part of cancer control research.

Continue reading “Paper of the Year 2017: Professor Bob Steele and Professor Annie Anderson”

Paper of the Year 2017: Dr Graham Colditz

We asked SCPN friends and advisors to tell us about a report/paper/findings/work on cancer screening and prevention that has been published this year and has made them stop and think. The works span a wide range of areas from very detailed scientific investigation, reviews of physical activities, and blogs of model work. We find them a complete inspiration. When only 3% of the NCRI research budget is spent on prevention and virtually nil on implementation research; these papers provide a window on some of the very good reasons why cancer screening and prevention should be a leading part of cancer control research.

Continue reading “Paper of the Year 2017: Dr Graham Colditz”

Paper of the Year 2017: CNO Fiona McQueen

We asked SCPN friends and advisors to tell us about a report/paper/findings/work on cancer screening and prevention that has been published this year and has made them stop and think. The works span a wide range of areas from very detailed scientific investigation, reviews of physical activities, and blogs of model work. We find them a complete inspiration. When only 3% of the NCRI research budget is spent on prevention and virtually nil on implementation research; these papers provide a window on some of the very good reasons why cancer screening and prevention should be a leading part of cancer control research.

Continue reading “Paper of the Year 2017: CNO Fiona McQueen”

Christmas is coming – Could you pay it forward?

Christmas is the time of consumption. Some of those extra calories at Christmas are about celebrating and feasting and sharing food and drink with family and friends at this special time – not a time for skimping… But media reports suggest we consume around 6,000 calories on Christmas Day (never mind what we do on Boxing Day, Hogmany, etc.) and it seems like it is too easy for our seasonal consumption levels to get way off balance.

It is also easy to contribute to that excess by giving the usual chocolates and bottles, though there are alternatives and one of these is to think about a ‘pay it forward’ approach to some Christmas gifts.

Continue reading “Christmas is coming – Could you pay it forward?”

Christmas is coming – and New Year resolutions are around the corner.

No one can give the gift of health but we can help support healthy interventions – both by giving and sharing and supporting healthful activities. Whether the gift is the promise of a shared mystery walk, a basket of herbal teas or a basket of yummy fruits and nuts – there are some lovely gifts to help get family and friends through the dark days of winter and achieving those health resolutions.

Continue reading “Christmas is coming – and New Year resolutions are around the corner.”

Christmas is coming – and the parties are getting closer.

Mega discussion in the office – can you go to the neighbour’s festive gathering without a bottle of alcoholic beverage and an offering of food?

Well it probably depends on whether you intend to drink or not, who the neighbours are and expectations. Driving (especially for rural dwellers) might also come into the decision. Either way great alternative gift ideas for those neighbours

Continue reading “Christmas is coming – and the parties are getting closer.”

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fatter… Aren’t we all?

Remember those days we used to give big boxes of cigarettes as Christmas presents to the aunts and uncles who smoked? Maybe you don’t, because our culture around tobacco has actually changed!

But I am sure you will recall seeing bumper boxes of chocolates being given to colleagues, friends, and family who struggle with their weight or those extra bottles of fizzy gifts in December. Scots are known for hospitality and generosity and as often happen the poorest give most (my mother would turn in her grave if she knew I did not bring packets of biscuits with me when visiting friends). No one wants to be a kill joy (I still want a box of chocs at Christmas but not 10 boxes!!) and sharing “goodies” is part of the enjoyment of families and friends.

Continue reading “Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fatter… Aren’t we all?”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: