Men not 'too late' at the GP

14/07/14 . Story

A new study has challenged the commonly held view that men present later than women in cases of serious illness.

The paper Gender Differences in Survival and the Use of Primary Care Prior to Diagnosis of Three Cancers on PLOS followed over 12,000 patients diagnosed with bowel cancer, lung cancer or malignant melanoma, the more serious form of skin cancer. The researchers also looked at the patients' pattern of GP consultation in the period prior to diagnosis. While men were slightly more likely to die within five years of diagnosis and slightly less likely to have consulted a GP in the two years prior to diagnosis, the differences were small.

The researchers concluded that 'differences in rates of consulting prior to cancer diagnosis were negligible between men and women'. They said: 'we would argue that the marginal gender differences in consulting shown in the current study strongly challenge the hypothesis that gender differences in primary care utilisation are an important explanation for gender differences in longevity.'

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It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

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