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Beer belly fear may boost male health

Tuesday June 16th, 2009

Dr Ian BanksMen are increasingly obsessed with their appearance - and this may help them improve their health, according to a new survey.

Fear of getting fat in the wrong places might even lead men to reduce their drinking, according to the survey conducted for the British government for Men's Health Week.

The findings came as a disturbing analysis showed that men face a much greater risk from cancer than do women.

The Cancer Research UK study showed that men who contract cancer are 40 per cent more likely than women to die from the disease.

And they are 16 per cent more likely than women to develop cancer.

Researchers found that rates of lung cancer - caused by smoking - could not explain the difference.

Researcher Professor David Forman, of the National Cancer Intelligence Network, said: "For many of the types of cancer we looked at that affect both sexes, there's no known biological reason why men should be at a greater risk than women, so we were surprised to see such consistent differences.

"Men have a reputation for having a stiff upper lip and not being as health-conscious as women.

"What we see from this report could be a reflection of this attitude, meaning men are less likely to make lifestyle changes that could reduce their risk of the disease and less likely to go to their doctor with cancer symptoms. Late diagnosis makes most forms of the disease harder to treat."

The British government survey involved nearly 2,000 adult drinkers, half of them men, and was conducted by pollsters YouGov.

Researchers found that 27 per cent of men were worried about developing a beer belly from drinking.

Dr Ian Banks, President of the Men's Health Forum, said: "Most of us enjoy a drink from time to time, and that's fine.

"But more men ought to be aware that drinking a couple of pints of beer or sharing a bottle of wine most days of the week can push them over the recommended limits, increasing their risk of liver disease, cancer, heart disease and stroke."

Dr Banks said that Men's Health Week should encourage men to see their doctor if they had concerns about health.

He said: "It is a real concern to doctors that men delay going to their GP when they feel ill.

"This leads to the late diagnosis of serious medical conditions. Getting treatment at an earlier stage could result in an improved long term outcome for certain diseases such as diabetes or testicular cancer."

Tags: Cancer | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Menís Health | UK News

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