Together we will beat cancer

Is lack of awareness and reluctance to go to the doctor leading to increased cancer deaths in men?

Is lack of awareness and reluctance to go to the doctor leading to increased cancer deaths in men?

Figures released today show a worrying trend – UK men are more likely to get cancer than women, and also more likely to die from the disease.

The report (pdf), compiled by Cancer Research UK, the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), Leeds Metropolitan University and the Men’s Health Forum shows that men are 40 per cent more likely to die from cancer than women overall, and 16 per cent more likely to get the disease.

To find out if this was due to cancers that predominantly affect only one sex, the researchers removed certain cancers from their equation – namely sex-specific cancers (such as prostate and cervical cancer), breast cancer (which mainly affects women, although men can still get it) and lung cancer (which affects 8,000 more men than women every year).

The team found that when they looked at data from cancers that affected both men an women, the difference became even more striking. Men were 60 per cent more likely to get cancer than women, and 70 per cent more likely to die from it.

These figures are concerning not only for men, but for their families too. But why does this difference exist, and what can we do about it?

Biology, lifestyle or the ‘ostrich factor’?
This particular gender gap is mysterious because there’s no significant biological reason as to why men should be more susceptible to many types of cancer than women.  But men were more likely to die from any of the cancers investigated in the report, and – apart from malignant melanoma – were also more likely to develop the disease in the first place. So what’s the cause?

Experts point the finger at two possible explanations.  Firstly, lifestyle factors.  As well as smoking, UK men are drinking increasing amounts of alcohol, putting on weight, and taking less exercise.  All of these things are known risk factors for several types of cancer.  But women are overindulging in unhealthy behaviour too (although not as much), so that’s not the whole story.

Secondly, the report’s authors point the finger at a deeper-rooted issue with the male psyche – the tendency to hide one’s head in the sand when it comes to health matters.

Throughout their lives, women tend to have frequent contact with health professionals – for example, when seeking contraception or during pregnancy, birth and child-rearing. This provides opportunities to discuss any worrying symptoms, and to pick up information about cancer prevention and symptoms.

Women are also invited to go for cervical and breast cancer screening at the GP’s surgery or a mobile clinic, providing more opportunities for information and discussion about health.  Both men and women can take part in bowel cancer screening, but this test is done at home.

In addition, women’s magazines are packed full of messages about health and cancer awareness, such as the heavy coverage of cervical cancer in response to Jade Goody’s story.   While there are a number of publications aimed at male health and fitness, health messages for men don’t seem to have reached the level of saturation they have achieved in the female media market.

Researching the reasons
Stereotypically, men are less likely to go to the doctor if they have early symptoms of cancer, such as a persistent cough, a change in bowel habit or problems with peeing (early symptoms of lung, bowel and prostate cancer, respectively). As Professor David Foreman, information lead at the NCIN puts it,

Men have a reputation for having a ‘stiff upper lip’ and not being as health conscious as women.

At Cancer Research UK, we often hear stories from female supporters about how they had to pester their menfolk to visit the doctor, but by the time they finally did, it was too late.  Every story is a tragedy for that family, and another reason why we need to put early detection and symptom awareness high on our list of priorities.

But as a science-based organisation, we can’t make decisions and strategy based on stereotypes and personal stories – we need hard data.

So last year, we helped launch NAEDI – the National Awareness and Early Detection Initiative – a joint initiative led by Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health (DoH) aimed at improving early diagnosis of cancer, which we hope will save many lives.

An important part of NAEDI’s work will be to carry out research as to why people put off going to the doctor with early cancer symptoms, and how best to get across messages about the signs of cancer.  Armed with this information, we will be able to target the right messages to the right people, at the right time.

Getting the message across
As part of NAEDI, some interesting male-focused awareness projects have already started up.  For example, the DoH and the Football Foundation are joint-funding a pilot programme called “Ahead of the Game”, aiming to use local football clubs to raise awareness of lung, bowel and prostate cancers in men aged 55 and over – a crucial age when it comes to spotting the earliest signs of cancer.

And the DoH and the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes have joined forces with Cancer Research UK’s Bobby Moore Fund to raise awareness of bowel cancer. You may have seen the “Moore to know” campaign posters around the place.

Football is just one way to reach men with messages about cancer, but of course it’s not the only way.  It’s clear that we need more research to help plan awareness campaigns and policy. But also it seems that we, as a society, need to somehow encourage a shift in attitudes if we’re to help more dads, granddads, husbands, brothers and sons to beat cancer.


Further information


Kat Arney October 5, 2011


We’ve pulled together this information which I hope answers your questions.

With regard to your query about the stats, our stats team confirm that you have correctly interpreted the statistics in the report – in 2007, 6,350 more men than women in the UK died from cancer.

The statement “men are 70 per cent more likely to die from cancers that affect both men and women” is based on the rate ratios shown in Table 1 on page 3 of the report. The mortality rate ratios are calculated by dividing the mortality (death) rate for these cancers in men by the mortality rate for these cancers in women.

The figure of 1.71 is the ratio of the mortality rate for men compared to that for women for all cancers, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, sex-specific cancers (i.e. prostate, testicular, cervical, womb etc), breast and lung cancer, for all ages.

This means that the mortality rate is approximately 70 per cent higher in men than women, when the influence of sex-specific cancers and smoking (at least in part, as lung cancer is not the only type of cancer caused by tobacco – see below) has been removed.

In contrast, the mortality ratio for all cancers (i.e. including sex-specific cancers but not including non-melanoma skin cancer) is lower at 1.38. This means that men are still approximately 40 per cent more likely to die from cancer overall, even when sex-specific cancers and lung cancer are taken into account.

The reason for the difference is because the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is so high (and the disease is so rare in men) that when it is included in the calculations of the overall cancer mortality rates, the difference between men and women is smaller.

As this report was published in 2009 it does not contain the most recently available data. Currently, the latest cancer incidence data available is for 2009 and mortality data for 2010. The process of registering a cancer is complex and there are a number of processes in place to ensure the data is reliable and high quality.

This means there is usually a delay of 2-3 years before the data are complete enough to be published. As it is a legal requirement to register deaths quickly, mortality data is released more quickly than incidence data, but data processing still means there is a delay of 1-2 years before data are published.

What’s going on?
You ask “Does Cancer Research UK believe that the additional deaths among men could be avoided if there was more ‘male-focused awareness’ (to use your phrase) in our society, or does that fact that men are more likely to get cancer mean that that there will always be some imbalance in the numbers of men and women dying from cancer?”

There isn’t a single answer to this question as there are many factors at work. Increasing awareness in men is a major part, but there are also lifestyle issues and underlying biological reasons.

Lifestyle differences
Some of the difference in cancer risk between men and women is likely to be down to differences in lifestyle factors – notably tobacco use and alcohol consumption, which are both higher in men than women.

We know that there are more male than female smokers, both now and in the past, which has had a significant impact on the rates certain types of cancer, particularly lung, larynx, bladder and oesophageal cancers. Sadly, these also tend to be the types of cancer that have the poorest survival, as they can be difficult to diagnose early and treat successfully.

Rates of smoking in men are now falling and the good news is that we’re starting to see a corresponding drop in male lung cancer cases. However, smoking and lung cancer rates in women are still rising, which is concerning.

Biological differences
With regard to research into possible underlying biological reasons for a difference in cancer risk between men and women, you may be interested in a paper published by our researchers in Newcastle earlier this year (

They discovered that men generally have higher levels than women of a protein called PARP, which helps to repair damaged cells and keep them alive, which may be linked to differences in hormones between the sexes. This could be at least one biological explanation for an underlying increased risk of some types of cancer in men, although a lot more research needs to be done to find out exactly what’s going on here.

There’s growing evidence that differences in sex hormones between men and women may have an influence on the immune system, which could potentially have an impact on cancer risk.

Some researchers have suggested that the male sex hormone testosterone may have a suppressing effect on the immune system (possibly increasing the chances of cancer), while the female sex hormone oestrogen has a stimulating effect, which might help to have a protective effect against cancer. However, oestrogen also has a potent effect on fuelling the growth of some types of breast cancer, just as testosterone can fuel prostate cancer.

It’s important to point out that this kind of research is still very much in the early stages, and the data are still a bit confusing. Scientists around the world (including some funded by Cancer Research UK – examples here ) are working to unpick the complex links between cancer and the immune system, so hopefully we’ll have some answers in the future.

Raising awareness
As we’ve already mentioned, evidence shows that many men’s lives could be saved by diagnosing cancer earlier. Cancer Research UK is co-leading NAEDI – the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative – working together with the Department of Health, the National Cancer Action Team and other partners to promote the earlier diagnosis of cancer. One strand of this initiative focuses on raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer among the general public and health professionals.

Under the banner of NAEDI, many local NHS Trusts are running projects specifically aimed at men. These include lung cancer awareness projects targeted at older men (the group most likely to develop the disease), local skin cancer awareness campaigns aimed specifically at men, and several projects highlighting the symptoms of bowel, lung, prostate and other cancers through local football clubs.

We have also been involved in a bowel cancer campaign in Derby, visiting working men’s clubs and predominantly male work places with information about early detection. And we produce male-specific printed resources, including leaflets, flyers and posters branded with “Skin cancer kills more men than women” as part of our SunSmart campaign, aiming to encourage men to enjoy the sun safely and avoid sunbeds; male-specific awareness resources, including Spot Cancer Early and prostate and testicular cancer leaflets; and a Ten Top Tips for weight loss aimed at men.

As we’ve mentioned, women tend to visit their GP or practice nurse for routine healthcare more often than men – for example, for contraception or a smear test, during pregnancy, or with children. This provides opportunities to mention worrying symptoms or ask for advice that men may not have access to on such a frequent basis.

To help provide easy access to this kind of information for a wider range of people, we run Cancer Awareness Roadshow units staffed by trained cancer information nurses, which travel to towns and cities around the country. As well as visiting leisure centres, shopping centres and high streets, the Roadshows also visit predominantly male workplaces such as car factories and transport companies, and go to sporting events.

The nurses provide advice about symptoms and information about cancer, including about lifestyle, risks and screening. User surveys show that the Roadshows are very popular with men, providing an easy alternative route to get information and advice on their doorstep. Here is a link to the Roadshow website.

We’re also working together with the England Footballers Foundation, which is supporting one of the Roadshow units and helping us to encourage cancer awareness in men. Furthermore, our national “Do Me A Favour” campaign, featuring Gary Lineker, was deliberately designed to appeal to men and encourage them to seek medical attention for any worrying symptoms.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the importance of early diagnosis and awareness, we’ve written a lot about NAEDI on the blog:

In summary
Cancer Research UK is concerned about all types of cancer affecting the whole population – men, women and children. Rates of cancer are rising in both sexes, and we are facing a big challenge.

Through our research, policy work, health promotion and campaigning, we are working hard to beat this disease for everyone. You can find out more about our research ( and progress ( on our website.

I hope this has provided the answers you’re looking for. Thanks for raising an interesting discussion about this important issue.

Kat Arney
Cancer Research UK Science Information Manager

Kat Arney October 4, 2011

Thanks for your comment. I’ve contacted our stats team for clarification over the figures and our policy and health teams for more detailed information for you, so we’ll get a response for you as soon as we can.

Best wishes,

DMJC October 4, 2011


Thank you for your reply, I have to say that I find the figures you quote a shock and as a result I do have some additional comments/questions for you.

First I want to double check that I’m interpreting them correctly, that for the last year where there is accurate information 6350 ‘extra’ men died from cancer? I’m sorry if this seems an overly blunt way of putting this, but I’m not sure how else to put this question as clearly.

In the report you link to there is a second set of figures on page 4 which ‘excludes breast cancer, sex-specific cancers and non-melanoma skin cancer’ of 54,963 women’s deaths and 70,063 men’s deaths, I am correct in assuming that these figures are the origin of the statement men are ‘70 per cent more likely to die’ from cancers which effect both men and women?

How do the figures you quote in your reply and are in the report it links to equate to the 40% higher death rate for men in all cancers and 70% higher death rates for cancers which effect men and women equally, could you explain, or point me to a website which has easy to follow explanation? I am sorry to reveal my mathematical shortcomings in science blog.

I am also surprised at how old these figures are, why is the accurate information so many years out of date?

Does Cancer Research UK believe that the additional deaths among men could be avoided if there was more ‘male-focused awareness’ (to use your phrase) in our society, or does that fact that men are more likely to get cancer mean that that there will always be some imbalance in the numbers of men and women dying from cancer?

Since this post has there been any advance in understanding why men are more likely to get cancer than women?

You describe the difference in the death rates between men and women as being a ‘worrying and unacceptable inequality’, since I’m a man can you reassure me that Cancer Research UK is fully committed to removing this inequality?

Thank you

Kat Arney September 21, 2011

Thanks for your comment.

Based on the most recent accurate figures we have for the UK, overall there were 80,907 cancer deaths in men in 2007 (29 per cent of all male deaths) and 74,557 cancer deaths in women (25 per cent of all female deaths). When we adjust these to take into account the difference in numbers and life expectancy of men and women in the UK, this equates to a cancer mortality rate of 211.3 per 100,000 men and 153.1 per 100,000 women. It’s also important to note that men are more likely to get cancer than women, as well as being more likely to die from it.

If you’re interested, more detailed figures are available in this report on our website:

As we mention in our post, this is a worrying and unacceptable inequality. We are working hard together with various organisations to try and understand the reasons for this difference and to find effective ways to tackle it.

Cancer Research UK Science Information Manager

DMJC September 19, 2011

In the article you state that men are ‘70% more likely to die’ from cancer, what does that figure actually mean, how many extra deaths-per-year does that equate to?

DLB November 18, 2010

I’ve also rejected mammograms after reading “The risks and benefits of cervical screening” – written by the Nordic Cochrane Institute to inform women, something the BreastScreen brochures have never done. (at their website)

Sorry, that should read, “The risks and benefits of MAMMOGRAMS” – a rare and unbiased summary.

DLB November 18, 2010

Be careful what you wish for, guys!
It is a fallacy that all screening is a great idea.
Take cervical screening – a rare cancer, always rare and in decline before screening started – it occurred as often as mouth cancer and also, testicular cancer occurs almost as often…when did you last hear anything about testicular cancer? Yet the hype over rare cervical cancer is hard to understand – testing, HPV testing, liquid paps, Gardasil – what next? The industry around cervical cancer is way out of proportion to the actual risk of this rare cancer. These programs are highly political with lots of vested interests – votes and profits.
Without screening, in a developed country, 1% would get cervical cancer, with screening one-third to one-half will still get this cancer due to false negatives.
BUT, this test is intrinsically unreliable and produces false positives – in the UK, 65% of women will be referred in their lifetime after an “abnormal” smear and face colposcopy and usually some sort of biopsy. Almost all are unnecessary and false positives.
Australia and the States over-screen and that greatly increases the risk of a false positive and harmful over-treatment – 77%-78% in Australia will be referred and a whopping 95% in the States.
Both countries screen women under 25 as well, even though the evidence is clear – testing does not change the tiny death rate in women under 25, but causes huge harm with high over-detection and over-treatment.
We spend $133 million every year in Australia plus all the medicare payments for excessive colposcopies/biopsies/treatment plus the cost of healthy women left with damage after unnecessary cone biopsies and LEEP – they can face infertility, miscarriages, high risk pregnancy, more c-sections, premature babies and psych issues PLUS we pay doctors financial incentives when they hit targets with pap testing. (this is not disclosed to women – Financial Incentives legislation – PIP scheme)
As a low risk woman, I’ve always declined cervical screening – I’ll take my chances with my near zero risk of cancer rather than the high risks of testing.
Doctors try and “sell” this test – some aggressively, because it means big money for them.
The risks of cervical screening and the fact that fewer than 1% benefit from smears (0.65%) is hidden from women – censorship applies with anything criticizing the program deleted or edited and when the numbers screening falls, another scare campaigns and the target for doctors goes up – in Australia, it was increased to 65% recently..
This is the way we treat healthy women….

Breast cancer – just as bad, no risk information, no real information at all, just a simple promotion of the test. It’s a common cancer, but doctors aren’t paid to push breast screening. It costs a lot less than the cervical screening program as well.
I’ve also rejected mammograms after reading “The risks and benefits of cervical screening” – written by the Nordic Cochrane Institute to inform women, something the BreastScreen brochures have never done. (at their website)

I rather envied men with prostate cancer screening – you got risk information quickly and doctors were reminded to get informed consent – your doctors don’t have a potential conflict of interest either, chasing target payments behind your backs…women are still waiting for this respectful treatment.
Women’s cancer screening is made up of propaganda, politics, misguided pressure groups, vested interests, conflicts of interest, misinformation and censorship.
Be careful what you wish for….
(My statistics are from articles by Richard DeMay, Angela Raffle, L. Koutsky and others at Dr Joel Sherman’s medical privacy forum under women’s privacy issues.)

Paul July 29, 2010


As the link you provide states, research into prostate cancer has lagged far behind other cancers and it is the least understood cancer because little research has been done into it. Clearly this is still the case as prostate cancer is still significantly underfunded compared to, say, breast cancer. This IS discrimination is it not?

The current approach by Cancer Research UK will not address this as the approach is to oil the wheel that squeaks the most, which is guaranteed to leave some cancers behind others in terms of research funding. And sadly it’s always men specific cancers that are left behind as men tend not to make a fuss. To address this, the research allocation policy needs to change to prioritise those cancers that lead to the the greatest loss of life and prostate cancer is right up there as you know.

One approach to address this may be to issue a “grand challenge” to the research community to, say, find a better screening method for prostate cancer to differentiate between slow and fast growing varieties and to *provide incentives to achieve this*.

Another thing Cancer Research UK needs to do, if they truly want to be seen as gender neutral and not anti-men, is to stop discriminating against men in the race for life event. There is no excuse or valid reason for this. There is no way I’ll ever support this event and nor will almost all the men, and most of the women, I know. Indeed no one that believes in equality can possibly support any sexist event.


Kat Arney July 28, 2010

Hi Paul,

As we’ve mentioned earlier in this thread, and in this post about how we distribute our research funding, we don’t ‘allocate’ our research spend into different types of cancer. Our mission is to fund the highest quality research to benefit patients with a wide range of cancer types, based on the grant applications we receive.

About 80% of the research that we fund is relevant to both men and women, and a large proportion of our research is so-called ‘basic’ research (for example looking at how cells function), which is relevant to many different types of cancer. We’re one of the UK’s leading funders of prostate and testicular cancer research. And many more men than women are diagnosed with cancers such as those affecting the lung, bowel, bladder and mouth – all areas we are actively researching for the benefit of both sexes.

We receive far more proposals for research into breast cancer than for any other type of cancer, and proportionally fewer for prostate cancer. For example, in 2008 we received almost twice as many grant proposals relating to breast cancer compared to those relating to prostate cancer. Some of the reasons for this are explained in this post here:

We have analysed recent grant applications and found that breast cancer proposals are actually slightly less likely to be funded than the average. So we are by no means funding a disproportionately high number of the breast cancer research proposals we receive – we are funding the best science we can, based on the grant applications we receive. You can read more about how we fund research in an article from our Science Update Blog:

If you’d like to find out more about what we’re doing to benefit men with prostate cancer, there’s plain English information about some of our current prostate cancer projects here, along with technical summaries of our full prostate cancer portfolio here.

We’ve also covered plenty of recent progress in prostate cancer on the blog, including research into new treatments and the PSA test. And if you’d like to specifically support prostate cancer research, you can donate directly to one of our prostate cancer projects through our MyProjects site: – we need to raise £500,000 to support a project developing new drugs to treat prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormone treatment.

Best wishes,

Paul July 23, 2010

Thanks for the response Kat.

Sadly the facts don’t seem to support your ‘no discrimination’ assertion and you haven’t addressed my concerns.

Specifically, can you tell me why does cancer research UK spend much, much more on breast cancer research than prostate cancer research even though roughly the same number of people get, and die from, both? Surely as there isn’t even a reliable test for prostate cancer and it’s pure luck if it’s caught in time, more should be spent on prostate cancer research, not less? How is this not discriminating against prostate cancer research in favour of breast cancer research? If there was really equality then wouldn’t more money be ‘ring fenced’ for prostate cancer research?

Even the cancer research UK web site looks to specifically tailored to women’s cancers – colours, images mostly of women etc. This gives the impression that cancer is a women’s disease.

There is no question that race for life discriminates against men – they can’t even enter! The often quoted “women prefer it that way” is not an excuse for discrimination and is unjustifiable. John Taylor comes this superbly above. I notice you have not specifically addressed this point.

So from where I’m standing cancer research UK does discriminate against men. Everything from the web site being tailored to women through to the race for life event and research funding.

Kat Arney July 21, 2010

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your comment. We’ve addressed your concerns in our responses further up the thread.

Everything we do is for the benefit of people with cancer, and Cancer Research UK does not discriminate against men.

For example, you can find out more about the impact our research has made for men with prostate and testicular cancers on our website.


Paul July 20, 2010

I’ve just come across this post. The question posed is amusing and somewhat ironic.

Men are more likely to die from cancer because organisation, like cancer research UK, spend vast amount of research money on female cancers to the exclusion of male cancers – for example, they spend twice as much on breast cancer research compared to prostate cancer.

To say cancer research UK doesn’t discriminate against men is not backed up by their own figures and by their blatant discrimination in the race for life events. Frankly it’s disgusting.

Of course men are more likely to die under these circumstances! Duh!

John Taylor September 30, 2009

Hi Kat,

I must comment further to what I stated above on August 22nd and further to the first sentence of your recent comment, in which you state, inter-alia:’Cancer does not discriminate, and neither does Cancer Research UK’..I must disagree – again!!!

I agree, wholeheartedly, that ‘Cancer does not discriminate’ – but, must stress, ‘CRUK does discriminate, blatantly, against males’ – when there are 240 (female only) 5K Race for Life events organised throughout the UK for females and only one (1) 5K Run for Moore for males!!!

Further,I agree with Simon K, after considering that stated in a letter, dated 23rd August, 2005, from David Perry, Head of Legal, CRUK, to, the then, Equal Opportunity Commission, in which it states: ‘The overiding objective of Race for Life is to raise awareness and ultimately ‘funds for research into into “all forms of cancer”…However, the letter also states: ‘…the 5K (male only) Run for Moore, relates specifically to raising funds for ‘bowel cancer’… So, my conclusion is that females have 240 5K Race for Life events throughout the UK (to raise funds for all forms of cancer) – but males only have one (1) 5K Run for Moore event (to raise funds ‘only for bowel cancer). There are no 5K Run/Walk events for males to raise funds ‘for all forms of cancer’…That, in my opinion, is blatant discrimination…

I mentioned in my comment of 22nd August, that I was awaiting a response from Peter Meacham, Complaints Officer, CRUK. I have now received that reply – which astounded me. He stated, inter-alia:
‘We survey our Race for Life participants regularly and keep Race for Life a woman-only event (at their request)’…
I subsequently made Mr Meacham aware of the reference and detail of David Perry, Head of Legal, CRUK’s letter to the Equal Opportunity Commission .

Subsequently, I received a ‘phone call from a CRUK spokesman, indicating that some ‘5K Family Fund-Raising events’ will be organised next year and I would be kept informed by e mail. I am still awaiting formal confirmation from CRUK’s Support Centre…

Further background information can be found on Cancer Research UK Race for Life discussion board – under the heading:

Chapter 2 – What should Cancer Research UK do?

I trust we can now start working together and beat The Big C…TOGETHER – in accord with CRUK’s statement!!!

CS September 29, 2009

As March was “prostate cancer awareness” month, could CRUK not use that to raise awareness? Whenever I see campaigns for Cancer Research UK it is almost inevitably for breast cancer, which probably gives a perception to the average punter that is the only thing that matters. The supermarket we use, ASDA is the same, they go big on this “tickled pink” breast cancer campaign but that is about it. It is as if it is embarrasing and un-cool to talk about prostate cancer. I think CRUK, with their privileged position could do a bit more for male cancer awareness too, especially when you read the statistics above.

There is no screening in place for prostate cancer, so it is effectively pot-luck if it is caught in time. there are no self examinations that you can do etc. it’s still in the dark ages.

Kat Arney September 29, 2009

Cancer does not discriminate, and neither does Cancer Research UK. As Simon points out, the money raised by Race for Life is used to fund research into all cancer types – not just women’s cancers.

We fund research into nearly all types of cancer that affect both men and women – lung, bowel, breast, prostate, testicular, ovarian, skin… and many more. You can find out more about the research we fund on our Research Highlights pages:

The “Join the fight for women’s survival” mailing is sent out only in September/October, to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month – a time when there is a national increase in breast cancer awareness and charity donations. Our mailing does also mention the fact that men can be affected by breast cancer as well, although it is rare. Throughout the rest of the year our mailings reflect cancers that affect both sexes, and it is inaccurate to suggest that one specific campaign mailing is representative of our entire fundraising efforts.

Over the years, our research has made an impact on survival from cancer for both men and women. For example, thanks in part to a drug called cisplatin, which we helped to develop, over 95 per cent of men with testicular cancer are successfully treated. Back in the 1970s this was only 70 per cent. And our work has contributed to 19 of the top 20 cancer drugs used to treat patients (men, women and children) today. You can read more about our progress here:

We are committed to beating cancer, regardless of the gender of the person affected. The important thing is that we continue to work towards finding new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent this disease.


6ame September 29, 2009

I got a letter from Cancer Research through my door just last week, and in huge letters at the top of the letter was “Cancer Research UK – Fighting For Women’s Survival”, so they clearly don’t care a jot about me, my son, or any other man’s survival, because if they did, as much as they do women’s, they would see fit to mention it, just as they do women’s, but they don’t, therefore it’s selfish and narcissistic.

If it said “Cancer Research UK – Fighting For Men’s Survival”, you’d see the discrimination and be crying fowl in a heartbeat, funny how you can’t see it when it’s the other way around.

If they genuinely cared about men, which they don’t, they wouldn’t make it all about women, or give the impression that it’s all about women, CRUK should hang their heads in shame, they shouldn’t be pushing a feminist agenda, they should be fighting cancer on all fronts.

Simon K September 28, 2009

A post like that barely warrants the dignity of a response, but I’ll rise to the bait.

Race for Life raises money (tens of millions of pounds every year) for the whole of the work of Cancer Research UK rather than, as you seem to think, specifically for cancers that affect women. Indeed, the “what your money can do” page ( only mentions two specific cancers, one of which – lung cancer – affects both genders while the other – prostate cancer – affects only men.

So those “selfish, narcissistic women” you mention are giving up their time and raising money to, potentially, save your life.

6ame September 28, 2009

Let’s not forget, the Moore run is for bowel cancer, not prostate cancer, so the takings will help both genders, whereas Race For Life will help mainly female cancer victims, which is where the glaringly obvious misandry is, I don’t know why any intelligent person cannot see how disgraceful RFL is in light of these figures, men suffer and die more, but let’s pile all attention on women, they somehow hold higher importance when it comes to suffering.

I often wonder why the people who built civilization, invented all useful everyday objects we use, constructed all buildings, and who would put their lives on the line to protect women and children (Titanic), are always ignored in such serious matters, or told their suffering isn’t as worthy as women’s (who live longer), it is truly sickening, and a clear example of the attitude of most of today’s selfish, narcissistic women.

John Taylor August 22, 2009

Hi Kat…
You state: I should also point out that our 10k runs, Relay for Life and many other fundraising events are not gender-restricted, while our 5km Run for Moore events are for men only.

This is a very, very, very sore point with me.When you state: while our 5km Run for Moore events are for men only…

It saddens me to have to state blatant sex discrimination exists within CRUK that was subject of complaint to the then Equal Opportunity Commission and I am currently awaiting a response from The Complaints Team’s, Pete Meacham.

When there is only one (1) Run for Moore event held in London (for males) against 240 Race for Life (for females) events throughout the UK can anyone deny blatant sex discrimination exists?

To overcome this very unsatisfactory situation I have suggested CRUK launch at least three 5K Family Fun Runs next year in 1) London 2) York 3) Edinburgh…

Further background information can be found on Cancer Research UK Race for Life discussion board – under the heading:

Chapter 2 – What should Cancer Research UK do?

I sincerely hope my constructive suggestion becomes reality throughout the UK. Let’s really start working together and beat The Big C…together.

With best wishes,

John Taylor

Kat Arney July 20, 2009

Thanks for your comments, Paul. The results certainly highlight a need to do more to promote cancer awareness in men, and this is something our Health Information team are currently looking at.

I should also point out that our 10k runs, Relay for Life and many other fundraising events are not gender-restricted, while our 5km Run for Moore events are for men only.


Paul Watkins July 20, 2009

I think a lot of the difference in the genders is down to men being more reluctant to visit GP’s but I doubt that’s the whole story. The fact is that the media and peoples perceptions of charity events and fund raising is virtually always around women and women’s cancer. I attended a superb ICR bash in Winchester earlier this year and our contact mistakenly assumed it was a breast cancer dinner just because it was a charity event. Similarly I attended the Race for Life in Reading yesterday and people I spoke to were not even aware that mixed gender races existed. I know things are changing slowly but I was interested in the deafening silence from politicians over the surveys findings. Had the results been the other way round Harriet Harman would have gone ballistic. They know there aren’t as many votes in men’s health as women’s and that’s why resarch into male cancer has lagged behind so badly. I know this is cynical and I am more optimistic than I was, but I am not in the slightest bit suprised by the findings of the report.