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Mens Health Q4 2021

Why we need to do more to support male health care needs

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Michelle Terry

CEO, Movember

Rather than blaming men for their precarious state of health, we need to think differently about how we can make health services work for them.


Men are twice as likely as women to die from COVID-19 and as a result, it has had a significant impact on male life expectancy in many countries around the world. One of the reasons men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 is due to their naturally weaker immune response to the virus. They are also likely to have underlying conditions such as hypertension, lung disease or diabetes which put them more at risk. 

Aside from COVID-19, men are more likely to die from preventable and treatable non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease and lung cancer.

Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men in the UK, while testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in younger men (aged 15-34). 

Men are also more likely to adopt unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking, drinking and keeping an unhealthy weight. All of which are linked to serious illnesses. 

In the UK, three out of four suicides are by men and it remains the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44. 

Social and economic consequences of the pandemic for men

In addition, the ongoing social and economic consequences of the pandemic have had a huge impact on men’s mental health. 

Movember research conducted earlier this year found that over half (52%) of men were suffering from poor wellbeing and a quarter (26%) met the World Health Organization’s criteria for depression. 

In the UK, three out of four suicides are by men and it remains the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44. 

When it comes to using health services, studies from around the world have shown that men are less likely than women to seek healthcare or medical advice and this is particularly true when it comes to asking for help with mental health problems.

Making health services work for men

Although Movember has made tremendous progress over the last 18 years in changing attitudes around men’s health and improving treatment, there is still much more work to be done. 

Men and women think about, talk about and act on their health differently. Therefore, to reach men effectively, health services and programmes must take account of these differences so that they can be tailored to meet men’s needs, enabling them to live longer, healthier and happier lives. 

To learn more about Movember’s work or donate, visit movember.com.

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