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2 In 5 Men Behind On Health Checks Despite Celebrity Cancer Spotlight

man speaks with doctor

Celebrity health scares inspired more men than ever across the UK to assess their risk of prostate cancer throughout 2023, but they still need more encouragement to prioritise their overall health, according to the 2023 Annual Health Report published by leading home blood test provider Medichecks.

Medichecks delivered over 4,700 PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Blood Tests in 2023, with spikes in requests following a series of much-loved celebrities bravely opening up about their own experiences with prostate cancer throughout the year.

male model with pink cancer ribbon

August came out on top for prostate test orders, with broadcaster Nick Owen and Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor both speaking openly about their respective diagnoses at this time, while Eastenders’ Alfie Moon’s prostate cancer storyline aired in the same month.

August also marks the anniversary of the passing of BBC Presenter Bill Turnbull, who died following a long battle with prostate cancer in 2022.

Sales of Medichecks’ PSA Blood Test in August were 1.9 times higher than in November when sales of the test typically peak as a result of men’s health campaigns.

Despite the climbing awareness and action around prostate cancer, a survey of more than 1,500 men across the UK found that less than two-thirds (57%) of men are up to date with their regular health checks. 

These checks, particularly the over-40s health screening offered by the NHS, are important for identifying the early signs of serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, and dementia, and are key for preserving good health in later life.

Nearly half (47%) of men participating in the survey cited a lack of motivation as their main obstacle to prioritising their health, with work commitments following close behind at 43%.

Brought even more into the spotlight recently with King Charles’ cancer diagnosis, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Men are more at risk of prostate cancer if they are over 50 or if there has been prostate cancer within their family, and rates of prostate cancer are higher in black men.

Medichecks’ Annual Health Report found that the highest number of Medichecks’ PSA Blood Tests were taken by men in the West Midlands, North East, and South West, while the lowest numbers were in London, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

Over two thirds of tests were taken by men below the age of 50, and close to 4% of these men were found to have raised PSA levels.

Dr Paul van der Westhuizen MBChB, MSc, MRCGP, Men’s Health Lead at Medichecks, commented: “The wide range of findings our Annual Health Report has uncovered are interesting.

On the one hand we see growing awareness of and engagement with prostate cancer screening, while at the same time over a third of men are lagging behind on getting more general health checks.

“It’s encouraging to see men are taking inspiration from public figures and using PSA tests to assess their risk of prostate cancer.

Without a national screening service, tests like ours – which are analysed by registered doctors – offer men a first-line opportunity to spot the signs of prostate cancer early, and arm them with results they can use to arrange a more detailed exam through their GP.

“It’s very important that men of all ages maintain regular health checks to make sure they’re living a healthy lifestyle and create the best opportunity to catch the early warning signs of disease.

Lifestyle factors synonymous with poor health, such as being overweight, a lack of exercise, and eating a poor diet low in vitamins and minerals, can also contribute towards an increased risk of serious health conditions, including prostate cancer.

“For those under the age of 40 who aren’t yet eligible for NHS health checks, Medichecks offers a range of home health tests, covering everything from general health checks to specific tests for hormones, nutrition, fitness, and fertility.

Our recently launched Optimal Health Test is our most comprehensive all-in-one test, which assesses biomarkers with proven links to longevity.

The test also examines heart, liver, and kidney health, diabetes risk, nutritional status, immunity, hormone balance, thyroid function, and inflammation levels.”