Men’s health in bad shape compared to women, research shows

Health Professional Cancer Network

Men’s unhealthy lifestyle habits are catching up to them, with rates of some potentially preventable cancers more than 3.6 times higher in men than women.

This week for Men’s Health Week (June 11-17), Cancer Council Queensland is urging men to get informed and reduce their risk of preventable cancers by taking small steps to improve their health.

Research shows that the incidence rate of bowel cancer among Queensland men is about 38 per cent higher than for women, while incidence rates for lung cancer and melanoma are 50 per cent higher. In addition, incidence rates of bladder cancer are 3.6 times higher for men – many cases of which could be prevented*.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said one third of all cancer cases could be prevented – around 5000 cases among men in Queensland annually.

“Preventable cancer cases are mainly attributable to six lifestyle factors; tobacco smoking, exposure to UV, an unhealthy diet, being overweight or obese, alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity,” Ms McMillan said.

“Men have the power to change their outcomes and close the health inequalities between men and women – and that starts with healthy habits.

“Men currently have a 29 per cent higher smoking rate than females, are more frequently exposed to harmful levels of UV, are 30 per cent less likely to be a healthy weight, and 2-3 times more likely to drink alcohol at risky levels.

“In addition, men are 76 per cent less likely to consume the recommended daily serves of vegetables, and 44 per cent more likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks .”

Ms McMillan said Men’s Health Week was the prime opportunity for men to put their health first and improve short and long-term outcomes.

“Your daily habits make a big difference to your everyday health – by taking small steps you can reduce your cancer risk,” Ms McMillan said.

“Consider reducing alcohol intake, improving your diet and exercising regularly, along with being sun safe and quitting smoking, and if eligible, taking part in the national bowel cancer screening program.

“Not only will these changes improve your health, but you’ll have more energy, more disposable income and more time to spend with friends and family.”

To coincide with Men’s Health Week, Cancer Council Queensland has launched a new webpage with helpful resources and information on healthy living. Get informed at

For more about Cancer Council Queensland, visit or phone 13 11 20.

Cancer type Age-standardised incidence rate (per 100,000) [95%CI] % difference (males : females)
  Males Females  
Lung 54.4 [51.5, 57.4]


35.8 [33.5, 38.2]


Melanoma 89.4 [85.7, 93.3]


58.6 [55.6, 61.7]


Bowel 70.7 [67.4, 74.2]


51.4 [48.7, 54.2]


Stomach 10.9 [9.6, 12.3]


4.3 [3.5, 5.1]


Kidney 21.1 [19.3, 23.0]


10.8 [9.6, 12.2]


Pancreatic 12.2 [10.8, 13.6]


8.7 [7.6, 9.9]


Bladder 16.8 [15.2, 18.6]


4.6 [3.8, 5.5]



*Data source: Queensland Cancer Statistics Online.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Laura McKoy,
Public Relations Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171