Men's Top 5 Health Concerns
Men die at higher rates than women for all of the top 10 causes of death. Why don't men take better care of their health?
Suicide and Depression
Men are four times more likely to commit suicide compared to women, reports
the MHN, which attributes part of the blame on underdiagnosed depression in
William Pollack, PhD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard
Medical School, agrees: "Men are more prone to suicide because they're less
likely to openly show depression and have somebody else recognize it early
enough to treat it, or to have themselves recognize that they're in
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million
men have depression each year. Pollack believes the number of males with
depression could be even greater since men may show signs of depression in a
manner different from many women.
Instead of sadness, Pollack says depression may play out in the following
ways in men:
- Work "burnout"
- Risk-taking behavior
- Midlife crisis
- Alcohol and substance abuse
"Society around the men and the men themselves see (the male symptoms of
depression) as 'just being a guy,' or 'having a hard time,'" says Pollack.
"The problem is that if they are signs of depression, and they're getting
bad enough, then many of these men are starting to form thoughts that life
isn't worth living."
To help men with depression and to reduce the risk of suicide, doctors,
loved ones, and men themselves need to recognize that society's model of
masculinity -- to ignore pain --can work against men. Looking the other way may
trigger depression and thoughts of suicide.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both men and women, claiming
more lives than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined. In men, there are
expected to be about 213, 380 new cases of lung cancer and some 160,390
lung cancer deaths this year.
The good news is that rate of new lung cancer cases has been dropping since
the 1980s, and deaths from the cancer have fallen since the 1990s. "That is
because of the drop in the prevalence of the use of tobacco products by men
that followed the Surgeon General's report in 1964," explains Sener.
Besides smoking, the ACS lists the following as risk factors for lung
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to asbestos or radon
- Personal history
- Air pollution
Tobacco products are responsible for 90% of lung cancer, which puts the
weight of prevention efforts on smoking cessation.
If you're thinking about kicking the habit, Sener recommends the following
- American Cancer Society: (800) ACS-2345
- National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline: (877)
According to the National Institute on Aging, as soon as you stop smoking,
your chances of getting cancer from smoking begins to shrink, and you can
prevent further damage to your lungs.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men. It is the second
leading type of cancer death in men, after lung cancer.