Male Health News June 2015

5000 lives could be saved each year through new cancer diagnosis plans

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) argues that if GPs follow its new guidance, this will help identify cancer sooner and save lives.

NICE produces clinical guidance for health professionals in England, and released an updated version of its ‘Suspected cancer:recognition and referral guidance” this week.  The major shift from previous guidance is that NICE now urges GPs to focus on key symptoms of cancer, rather than “encouraging GPs to consider first which cancer a patient may have an then to cross check it with the symptoms” (reported by BBC News online).  The guidance also says that GPs should be able to order some cancer tests directly, with the aim of speeding up the diagnosis process.

NICE argues that if GPs follow the new guidance, this could save thousands of lives in England every year.  Charities have been reported as supporting this change.  The Royal College of GPs also welcomed the guidance, but cautioned that there may not be enough capacity in the NHS to be able to offer the extra tests and checks.

The revised guidance is here.  If you’re worried about your health or cancer risk, do see your GP for advice.  There is also information on common signs and symptoms of cancer available from organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Support or NHS Choices.

(June 26th 2015)


Smoking causes half of all deaths from 12 different cancers

A US study has suggested that around half of deaths from 12 cancers could be directly linked to smoking, the Mail Online has reported.

The study was produced by researchers across four US research institutes, and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.  The authors looked at US cancer deaths in adults aged 35 or over in 2011, considering 12 cancers including lung, bronchus, mouth and larynx.  The researchers also claim smoking was the key factor in many deaths from cancers less commonly associated with the habit, including in 17% of kidney cancer deaths and 20% of stomach cancer deaths.

To be clear, the study included estimates based on data taken from previous studies.  As such, the figures may be skewed by the limitations of the original studies’ design and methods, as highlighted by NHS Choices.  However, this reinforces the key message that smoking is clearly bad for you!  If you are a smoker and would like help to quit, the NHS runs local Stop Smoking Services that can help.  Likewise, you can get information and support from dedicated charities like ASHQUIT and the British Lung Foundation.

(19th June 2015)


7 days to Men’s Health Week 2015 – what will you do?

Men’s Health Week 2015 kicks off on Monday June 15th, so it’s time to set yourself a healthy challenge!

As reported in previous months, this year’s Men’s Health Week focuses on healthy living, challenging men to:

  • Look after their relationships and wellbeing
  • Don’t smoke
  • Drink sensibly
  • Be active
  • Watch their weight
  • Turn up to their NHS Health Check

This is a great opportunity to set yourself a challenge to get healthier, whether that is taking more exercise, cutting down on unhealthy foods and drinks, or simply looking after your own mental wellbeing by addressing sources of stress in your lives.  Better yet, why not encourage friends or colleagues to join a challenge too?

For more information, please see the Men’s Health Forum.

(June 8th 2015)


Statins could help prevent cancer deaths

Research presented at a major cancer conference in Chicago suggests that taking statins may substantially increase survival from a range of common cancers.

These findings were presented from two major US studies.  The first produced by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey found that men taking statins who had advanced prostate cancer were 40% less likely to die than those who were not.  The second study from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that statins increased survival by 40% in women with bowel, breast or ovarian cancers, and by 55% in cases of bone cancer.

These findings suggested that statins do not help prevent cancer, but may be a factor in promoting survival in people once they have developed cancer.  These studies were observational, rather than randomised control trials, the Guardian reports.  As such, these results are suggestive, and more research is needed.

(June 5th 2015)