Health & Fitness » Men Silent About Cancer – Until Women Step In

Men Silent About Cancer – Until Women Step In

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Prostate Cancer Father's Day Survey: Wives, Daughters Key to Get Dad Talking about Prostate Cancer with Doctors

Santa Monica, CA – Men may not listen to women when it comes to directions, but a new national survey shows that they are likely to listen when it comes to their own health.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation/Gillette Men's Health Survey, released just before Father's Day by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge and conducted by Lieberman Research Worldwide, shows the critical role women can play to help increase men's awareness of prostate cancer and other major threats to their health. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of men said they would be very likely to talk to their doctors about prostate cancer as a result of the urging of the women in their lives, the survey finds. Yet, only half of women (51 percent) believe they have that kind of influence.

Prostate Cancer Foundation "Women don't realize how much influence they have with their husbands on matters of health," said Leslie D. Michelson, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. "Daughters, wives and partners may be our secret weapons to get men to talk with their doctors about prostate cancer."

Dr. Mary-Ellen Taplin of the Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute agreed. "Many men are uncomfortable with the subject, but the one simple thing men need to do is talk with their doctors about prostate cancer," she said.

One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most common non-skin cancer in America and one of the greatest threats to men's health. Most men in the survey (73 percent) say they are concerned about the threat, yet the survey identifies important gaps in men's knowledge of prostate cancer, even in those who are at increased risk for the disease.

Almost one in three men (30 percent) above the age of 50 – the age at which the risk begins to increase rapidly—is mistakenly waiting for symptoms to develop. However, most men experience no symptoms at all in early stages of the disease, when more treatment options are available.

"We're in a race against time," Michelson said. "Baby boomer men are rapidly moving into the target zone for prostate cancer, and both men and women need to appreciate the significance of this disease. This Father's Day, women can show they care for husbands and dads by urging them to have a conversation with their doctors. This new survey suggests that most men will listen."

The survey finds that even men with a family history of cancer, a fact that puts them at greater risk, are reluctant to talk to their doctor about cancer—of the prostate or any kind, the survey finds. Of men with a family history of prostate cancer, 1 in 5 men (22 percent) has never discussed his family history with his doctor and 1 in 4 (26 percent) has never discussed his personal risk with his doctor.

The survey also finds that across all groups, basic facts about prostate cancer are not well known:

  • About a third of those surveyed (36 percent of men, 32 percent of women) believe women can develop prostate cancer. (The prostate is found only in men.)
  • Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (71 percent of men, 75 percent of women) believe prostate cancer is less common among men than breast cancer is among women. (In fact, men are one-third more likely to get prostate cancer then women are to get breast cancer.)

The Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge have produced an online Father's Day Kit with "Conversation Tips" to help women and men get simple advice about how to talk about prostate cancer. The kit also includes an "Introduction to Prostate Cancer" guide containing a general overview of prostate cancer.

Go to for more information and to download a free Father's Day Kit.

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About The Author - Prostate Cancer Foundation

About the survey:
The survey was conducted by Lieberman Research Worldwide from May 9-15, 2006. The survey was conducted online among a national sample of 1,572 people. Eligible respondents were men and women between the ages of 25 and 65; the men had not been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Where necessary, data is weighted to reflect U.S. Census levels for age, gender, race/ethnicity and geographic region.

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation:
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world's largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research and seeks to find better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer.

About the Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge:
The Gillette Prostate Cancer Challenge helps to increase awareness on topics including risks, prevention strategies, diagnostics and symptoms - and early detection of prostate cancer, especially among high-risk men. They encourage men to know their risks, talk to their doctors and tell their friends. Learn more:

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