A recent study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health showing that men are more reluctant than women to get screened for cancer highlights the need for increased cancer awareness efforts among males — particularly considering their higher death rate from the disease, according to New York mesothelioma lawyer Joseph Belluck.
“Men must take the time to get regular checkups that include simple cancer screening procedures. Getting at least X-rays is important. Their health — and lives — depends on it,” Belluck said.
Belluck’s New York personal injury law firm, Belluck & Fox, LLP, focuses on mesothelioma litigation.
The firm has secured more than $450 million in compensation for its clients and their families, including mesothelioma verdicts of $32 million and $19.5 million in the Supreme Court of New York in August 2011 (Dummitt v. A.W. Chesterton, et al., No. 190196/10, and Konstantin v. 630 Third Avenue Associates, et al., No. 090134).
Belluck said his firm’s work with mesothelioma clients has shown him what a key role early detection can play in a patient’s prognosis. Mesothelioma is a lethal form of cancer. The only known cause of the disease is exposure to asbestos fibers.
“Because so many men have worked in jobs that put them in contact with cancer-causing asbestos, it is crucial that they get regular health assessments, including appropriate X-rays and cancer tests,” Belluck said.
According to the results of the study, “Gender Differences in Cancer Screening Beliefs, Behaviors, and Willingness to Participate: Implications for Health Promotion,” men are less willing to be screened for cancer than women are. In fact, more than 40 percent of American males have never undergone cancer screening, as compared to just 5 percent of females.
The report cited a series of factors that could contribute to men’s poor showing when it comes to getting screened for cancer. Some issues include:
- Women see health care providers more frequently than men;
- The media provide more coverage of cancers that affect women than they do cancers that affect men (for example, “mammography” is mentioned more often in news articles than “prostate specific antigen,” the test for prostate cancer);
- Women’s cancers are the subject of more fundraisers, commercials and community awareness events; and
- The federal government focuses more on health issues that affect women, such as breast cancer, than those that affect men.
The study did reveal some positive news: Men are more likely to agree to participate in cancer screenings after they have been provided with an explanation of the process.
“Most cancer screening techniques are not very invasive, and men should not be concerned about getting tested for the disease,” said Belluck, the New York City mesothelioma attorney.
He said that many of his clients are men who were exposed to cancer-causing asbestos fibers while working in fields such as construction, manufacturing, auto repair and the military (particularly Navy veterans). In addition to seeking medical treatment for asbestos-related cancers, Belluck stressed that it is crucial for victims to obtain qualified legal counsel.