• Wellbeing
  • Workplace Wellbeing

Men’s Health – are we focusing on the right thing?

  • By: paralleladmin
  • Posted on: 3rd June 2024

Raina Dhillon, Health & Wellbeing Specialist

This June it’s Men’s Health Week (10th – 16th June) a dedicated week that shines a spotlight on the unique health concerns impacting men, and a reminder of the importance of addressing and managing health issues proactively. With stats indicating that we’re seeing improvements of GP visits from males aged under 35, which can help prevent and detect early signs of health conditions, there is still a long way to go to help raise awareness and stigma persists.

In a recent survey commissioned by King Edward VII’s Hospital researchers highlighted that men’s attitudes towards health are changing in positive ways, but that men aren’t always worrying about the ‘right’ or most prevalent thing when it comes to their health. As part of the survey commissioned men (age 18-75) were asked about the health conditions that worried them most and the results were as follows:

  1. Prostate cancer
  2. Bowel cancer
  3. Heart disease
  4. Testicular cancer
  5. Kidney stones
  6. Injury
  7. STI’s
  8. Breast cancer

It was found that 18–34-year-olds worried about prostate cancer just as much as 35–54-year-olds despite the fact this is a lot less likely to happen to them above conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stress and anxiety, amongst others.

The common theme that seemed to emerge from this survey was that men do not always know how much of a risk a health issue poses, which leads them to potentially worry about the “wrong thing” and neglect other conditions that could impact them sooner in life. For instance, the survey confirmed that whilst 1 in 2 men fear prostate cancer, 1 in 10 men couldn’t correctly identify where the prostate is located!

We know the importance as employers for being advocators for staff wellbeing and encouraging staff to stay active and healthy, but like a lot of health issues that can lead to long term sickness it is important to focus on support that aids preventive measures, early detection, and proactive health management.

It is evident that men cannot always access the health advice they need, despite campaigns such as ‘Movember’ (which have made an enormous difference) and although younger men (aged 18-44) are more willing to go to the GP with their mental health concerns rather than for a physical injury, attendance at the Doctors is still significantly lower than that from women.

So what might be stopping them from going? King Edward Hospital cited some of the reasons (from the survey) as being:

  • It is too much hassle to get a GP appointment.
  • The GP experience of “opening up” is not comfortable for a lot of men.
  • Men seem to prefer annual health checks – which is positive but may not be in cases where immediate diagnosis is necessary.
  • Men often do not wish to talk about any mental health issues with their GP which can often lead to additional health concerns.
  • The hospital experience is “rubbish” – citing the food as the most negative aspect coming in slightly higher than family visits!

If men decide not to make use of healthcare systems, whether from embarrassment, frustration, or from a negative experience, where are they taking their health concerns? Online of course – where else!

In the age of self-diagnosis it is it is not surprising that many men might see online healthcare options and self-diagnosis as a faster route to treatment, Google trends have shown noticeable uplifts in people turning to platforms like YouTube to symptom check and watch video content.

So this is where as employers we could be doing more to help – by sharing resources, links, test kits, awareness days and opportunities to open up conversation we can all play our part to help promote self-care and confidence to empower men to act sooner and prioritise their health and habits.

  • Routine health check and screening reminders
  • Organise health education sessions and 121s
  • Promote physical fitness by organising group activities or sports events
  • Share resources and guides with your team
  • Support Men’s Health organisations – fundraisers and select as charity partner  

For more information on Men’s Health Week click here or how we can support you with your staff Health & Wellbeing benefits contact malcolm.lyons@parallel-eb.co.uk // 020 8874 1230

Lets end stigma in men’s health together, now.