A quarter of men have put off having a health issue checked1, according to a new study by Bupa Health Clinics, released for Men’s Health Month.
When asked why they are putting off visiting a doctor, six in 10 (58%) admitted ignoring the issue in the hope that it would simply go away itself.
Meanwhile over a third (36%) deferred seeking help for fear of bad news, while 15% had turned to searching their symptoms online instead, and 14% said they had no time.
And whilst the pandemic has put a renewed focus on health and wellbeing, over a fifth of men say they’re less likely to see a doctor because of the pandemic.
Dr Naveen Puri, Associate Clinical Director at Bupa Health Clinics said; “It’s essential that men take time to prioritise their health. Delaying appointments or self-diagnosing online delays getting the support you need.
“The vast majority of concerns can be treated really quickly and easily, so there’s no need to endure pain or discomfort while hoping it goes away on its own.
“What’s more, if you do need support, early diagnosis typically means faster access to treatment, quicker recovery and can ultimately save lives.”
The study also found that when it came to cancer screenings, one in 10 men admit to missing or delaying a screening on purpose.
Not fitting with working hours (28%), prioritising time for other ‘fun’ activities (25%) and hearing bad experiences from friends and family (24%), were reasons as to why they miss or delay a screening.
Similarly, a quarter (23%) of men avoided their screenings as they feared lack of support if the result were negative (23%), while a fifth (21%) cited embarrassment as a reason for deferring.
Dr Puri adds “Screenings can be life-saving, which is why it’s essential that you’re attending your appointment or seeing a doctor if you have any symptoms you’re concerned about.
“There’s no need to be embarrassed either – as doctors it takes a lot to shock us! The doctors across our health clinics are trained to make sure they’re able to put people at ease if they feel anxious.”
When it comes to seeking medical advice, Dr Puri wants men to feel comfortable addressing any concerns. However, he outlines six symptoms in particular that men shouldn’t ignore:
Lump on the testicles – “It’s so important that men regularly check their testicles for any changes, lumps or swellings. Men will know what normal feels like, so when there is a change it’s essential that they speak to a doctor who will be able to investigate.
“Testicular cancer peaks in occurrence in men in their 20s and 30s, so just because you’re younger, doesn’t mean you should put off seeing a doctor for any change.”
Problems with urinating – “Along with needing to pee more frequently, men might also find they have difficulty starting or ending urination. This may be because an enlarged prostate or tumour is blocking the urine flowing through to the urethra.
“A weak flow, difficulty stopping urinating, or dribbling urine and not feeling like the bladder is empty, are all signs that something could be wrong, which can be linked to the prostate.”
Blood in urine – “Blood in the urine or semen can be a sign that something is wrong – and can even indicate cancer. Even if it is only a small amount of blood, it is really important that this is checked by your GP as soon as possible.”
Bowel changes – “It can be easy to dismiss the symptoms of bowel cancer, and people often put different bowel movements or bloating down to diet or changes in their body as they get older.
“If you notice any blood in your poo, changes to your bowel movements, bloating, or abdominal pain after eating, see your GP as soon as possible.
“While it’s typically nothing serious, it could be symptom of something like bowel cancer, so it’s important to get it checked out – if only for your peace of mind.”
Unexplained weight loss – “Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of a wide range of conditions such as diabetes or Crohn’s disease, or some types of cancer.”
Changes in your mental health – “Mental health is just as important as our physical wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health, please do take the time to speak to a doctor about how you’re feeling.
“There’s no shame in seeking help – it’s the proactive and sensible thing to do. Not only will it help you get back to being you, but it’ll also benefit your friends, family and everyone around you.
“All the same, mental health is still something men tend to ignore, but similar to physical conditions, the sooner you get help the easier the condition can be to treat. Don’t suffer in silence.”