The health of men must be improved!

How many men take part in the examinations for early cancer detection? Is it 17 or even 25 per cent? We don’t know exactly. In any case, there are far fewer than women.

Accidents, drugs, violence, suicide and heart attacks claim more male victims than female victims every day. Men get cancer more often, go to the doctor less often and even die ten years earlier – yet our society neglects men’s health while it takes very good care of children’s and women’s health. What is the reason for this?

The age of entry into statutory cancer screening is 30 for women and only 45 for men. This means that skin cancer developing at the age of 38 can be detected by screening in women and not in men, although it is more frequent in men (109 cases/100 000) than in women (74/100 000). There is therefore much to suggest that the gender mainstream does not objectively record the health situation of the sexes. Who is applying double standards here? Is it the women who have to be considered as decision-makers (from the health minister to the patients‘ representative) or the numerous female employees who work diligently in the relevant committees?.

Under these conditions, men can only be advised to discard their ideal of masculinity by focusing less on strength, power, superiority and independence and abandoning their attitude of repression and denial. Instead, he should take responsibility for himself (and his family). What does personal responsibility mean in this context? The women live it out in an exemplary way: Taking preventive measures, being attentive to physical or psychological warning signs, acknowledging and communicating them, and seeking professional help more often and in a timely manner. This also includes making use of the examinations offered for early cancer detection.

We doctors should not stop trying to convince men of the benefits of such early measures as well. Of course, it is regrettable that it is precisely the „bend-over examination“ with palpation of the prostate gland through the rectum that is offered to men for the early detection of prostate cancer. It is a degrading and unworthy measure. Ultimately, however, it is up to the men themselves to demand modern procedures. The mood-mongering of the health insurance funds against the PSA test is not only due to the inadequacies argued by epidemiologists and women, as is also known for mammography, but also to a funding problem. Undoubtedly, breast cancer has a higher economic priority because women get it more often than men get prostate cancer, and they are also younger.

The arguments against PSA testing provided by the health insurance funds and the Medical Service of the Health Insurance Funds (MdK) are understandable for the reasons mentioned above, but they are not fair. They isolate the man who wants early detection. He has a hard enough time, because unlike women, he has to get by without role models. Among the male celebrities in our country, there are no men who – like in the USA or France – publicly admit to their prostate cancer, regardless of whether it is cured or not, regardless of whether it was diagnosed early or late. Such role models could help to change the self-image of men by relativising the unrealistic optimism of the invulnerable organism and reducing anxiety, fear and phobia. Men’s health days should also contribute to this. They should not only focus on healthy prostates, but initiate a men’s health movement.