Invest in research

MEN'S HEALTH MANIFESTO: There is still a lot in men's health that needs research, including on mental health and cancer.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS, and other national research funders to invest in research into knowledge ‘gaps’ on causes, good practice and health economics of:

  • Men’s mental health and wellbeing – especially for those with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental health problems
  • Cancer – with focus on the excess burden of cancer in men – and including interaction with wellbeing and mental health
  • Other conditions with excess male incidence – such as motor neurone disease, tuberculosis and mesothelioma
  • Interventions and services that work for weight management and behaviour change – including diet and eating disorders
  • Engagement with primary care, mental health, preventative services and screening – including trials of men’s drop-in clinics
  • Self-management of long-term conditions
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) – especially clarifying care pathways.

Why is this important?

There are three main reasons for this:

  • For some areas, such as cancer, incidence and mortality are quite different for men and women, and there is not yet clear understanding why this should be the case or treatments available to address the issue.
  • In other areas, such as mental health, the way that men present with problems is very different from women, and more work is needed to design an effective response.
  • Finally, in some areas, such as obesity, there is clear evidence that programmes need to be designed differently for men to be effective, and research is needed to drive good practice in these areas.

Cancer mortality rates in men are higher than in women, in some cancers nearly three times higher. There is not yet a definitive explanation for this. More research is needed before we can reduce the burden of cancer in men.

Men’s health has less than its ‘fair share’ of support. Of Medical Research Council funding of sex-specific research, just 27% goes to studies researching men.

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