Why do men get ill? ReallySome of you who’ve read my previous posts will be surprised that I have worries about Movember. So let’s make it clear that in many ways I’m full of admiration: Movember has been genuinely innovative and successful at raising money, and has transformed the prostate cancer agenda as a result. That is no small achievement.
So let me ask a controversial question. Why do men get ill? People rarely ask it, because we don’t know the answer. And if we don’t know the answer, we can end up looking stupid. So we just ignore it and hope no-one notices. By we, I mainly mean politicians, policy makers, doctors, academics, charities and yes, sometimes journalists.
- Because of our genes: we’re born susceptible to some conditions.
- Because we get a kick out of some risky activities because they’re risky: driving fast, drinking beer and eating pork pies spring to mind.
- Because we get anxious, sad and scared: so we lose respect for our bodies, copy what others do, delay going to the doctor, get into bad habits and addictions that seem to make us feel better.
- Because we’re given unhelpful information, or unnecessary tests and treatments, which can lead to all sorts of physical and mental problems.
I’ll come back to all these points and expand them in posts to follow. I certainly don’t have all the answers. But you’ll note I’m not saying the problem is that men don’t talk enough. The answer to the question “Why do men get ill?” is far, far more complicated that.