Men are less likely than women to go to the doctor. In a 2019 survey, the Cleveland Clinic found that 65% of men said they avoid going to the doctor as long as possible and a concerning 37% said that they had withheld information from their doctor in the past, particularly to avoid a diagnosis that may be difficult to deal with.
This Men’s Health Month, help us bring awareness to men’s lung health and inspire the men in our lives to seek out regular check-ups, sharing of respiratory symptoms, and early testing and treatment.
Men are more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer and less likely to survive it compared to women. The rate of new cases in 2019 was 23% higher in men than women (59 versus 48 per 100,000, respectively), and the five-year survival rate was 39% higher among women than men (30% versus 21%, respectively).
Men who have smoked in the last 15 years, are on Medicare and are between the ages of 50 and 77 could qualify for a low-dose CT scan that could save their life. Find out if you qualify at SavedBytheScan.org.
Men are disproportionally affected by mesothelioma, which is a rare type of cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue that covers most of your internal organs, called the mesothelium. Men are 4.6 times more likely to contract mesothelioma, because eight out of 10 people with this kind of cancer report exposure to asbestos, which is a fibrous silicate material that was commonly used in construction before it was found to be harmful. This is why men older than 65 who have worked in blue-collar occupations or the military are most at risk for this kind of cancer. Learn more about mesothelioma.
Pneumonia is a common lung infection. It can be a complication of the flu, but other viruses, bacteria and even fungi can cause pneumonia.
Not only are men more likely to contract pneumonia, but they are also more likely to die from the disease. A 2008 study found that men are 30% more likely to die from pneumonia even when receiving aggressive treatment. This is not only because men are more likely to wait until symptoms are very severe to receive medical care, but also because of differences in the male body’s immune response compared to women. Learn more about the symptoms of pneumonia.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), for which men account for 70% of all cases, is the most common type of pulmonary fibrosis. It is a disease that causes scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs. The word "idiopathic" means it has no known cause. Scarring of the lungs can make it painful and difficult to breathe.
IPF symptoms usually appear later in a person's life, with most people diagnosed between ages 50 and 70. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, a dry hacking cough, gradual weight loss and fast, shallow breathing. IPF is a progressive disease, so it does not have a cure, but the progression can be slowed with medication and treatment, which may also relieve symptoms.
Because IPF may mimic the presentation of other lung diseases, there are many tests a healthcare provider may run to rule out other illnesses. Discover more about how these tests and how IPF is diagnosed.
Recognize and Report Early Warning Signs
These are just a few examples of health problems that men become more susceptible to as they age, according to the CDC. Many early warning signs of illnesses, like lung cancer, IPF, mesothelioma and pneumonia can initially seem mild, so it is important for everyone to listen to their body and seek medical advice when something seems off. In addition, it is always recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle, get regular exercise and live tobacco free to keep their body in optimal condition. Learn more about warning signs of lung disease.
Blog last updated: August 25, 2023