Men More Likely to Skip Cancer Screenings: Study

Findings suggest need to better educate guys on tests' value, researchers say

TUESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Men are less willing than women to be screened for cancer, even though men have higher cancer death rates, a new study shows.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey of nearly 1,150 adults in New York City, Baltimore, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, who answered questions from the Cancer Screening Questionnaire. Most of the participants were aged 30 to 59, and 35 percent of them were men.

"This study examined beliefs and attitudes held by men and women about cancer screening. Our aim was to gain insight for improving existing cancer health promotion practices," study corresponding author Jenna Davis, of the department of health outcomes and behavior at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., said in a center news release.

"Our findings indicate that there is a need for better health and cancer screening promotion among men," she said.

The researchers suggested several reasons why men are less willing than women to undergo cancer screening: most cancer awareness campaigns in the media are for women's breast cancer; there is a lack of government-sponsored men's cancer awareness campaigns; and studies indicate that women see their primary care doctor more often than men.

But the study also found that when men are provided with the details of cancer screening procedures, they're slightly more likely than women to participate in cancer screening.

"This strongly suggests that men will participate in screening when given more information about screening procedures," Davis said. "This means that health educators, physicians and community-based organizations should make a concerted effort to educate men on exact screening procedures, explain how cancer is detected, and communicate what to expect during screening."

The study was published online Nov. 8 and will appear in an upcoming print issue of the American Journal of Men's Health.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer screening.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Moffitt Cancer Center, news release, Nov. 22, 2011

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