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Men’s Health Week: Men more likely to develop and die from cancer

Over their lifetime, one in two men in Australia will be diagnosed with cancer, compared with one in three women.  Men account for substantially more deaths from cancer, with the rate of death 58% higher for men than women. 

Bowel cancer, melanoma and lung cancer are three of the four most common cancers in both men and women, however, men are considerably more likely to be diagnosed and die from these cancers. 

While these cancers are some of the most common, they are also among the most preventable.  This Men’s Health Week, Cancer Australia reminds men to be proactive in improving their lifestyle habits to reduce their risk of cancer. 

Cancer Australia CEO, Professor Helen Zorbas has said, “In Australia, men are more likely than women to smoke, be overweight or obese and consume excessive amounts of alcohol. 

“It is estimated that at least one third of all cancers could be prevented through a healthy lifestyle.  Limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, being sun smart and not smoking have all been shown to reduce a person’s risk of cancer.

“In Australia, 70% of men are overweight or obese, 20% still smoke and men are nearly three times more likely to consume excessive amounts of alcohol than women.”  In addition, a recent survey by Cancer Council Australia found that men are 50% more likely to neglect sun protection and get sunburnt on a summer weekend, compared with women".

Also of concern is the low participation rate of men in the Bowel Cancer Screening Program.  In 2012-13, only one third of those invited to participate returned a completed bowel screening kit.  

Professor Zorbas said, “Early detection of abnormalities found during screening can substantially reduce the impact of bowel cancer.  All eligible Australian men are encouraged to participate.”

This Men’s Health Week, Cancer Australia is highlighting the positive lifestyle choices that men can make to reduce their risk of developing and dying from cancer.     

Further information
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For all media enquiries, please contact Amy Cook at Cancer Australia on (02) 9357 9401,  0438 209 833 or