February 15, 2007


Senator urges need for preventive care and public awareness

Washington, DC - A federal clearing-house for health issues related to men could become reality under legislation introduced today by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. The Men's Health Act would improve public awareness and education from federal sources by creating an Office of Men's Health at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The creation of this office mirrors services already available for women through the Office of Women's Health. Representative Vito Fossella (R-New York) will sponsor similar legislation in the U.S. House. Crapo has long pushed to improve awareness of men's health issues. A two-time prostate cancer survivor, he set up health awareness and testing booths offering free or reduced-cost services during state and county fairs in Idaho. Crapo noted that men overall have a shorter life span than women, fail to get regular medical check-ups, and often ignore health-related problems."Simply stated, this legislation can save lives," Crapo said. "While an Office of Men's Health is not in itself a cure-all, it will assist men to focus on many health problems that can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. In addition, it will help save individual and government resources by helping to prevent costly diseases and conditions. Prevention and early detection can only happen with increased public awareness, something the proposed office can provide. "For the past five years, I have sponsored health awareness booths at local fairs in Idaho, and it never stops surprising me how many men are brought into the booths by their wives and girlfriends," he added. "Men need to be better educated and more responsible about their own health, not reliant on the women in their lives to be vigilant for them." "The health disparity between men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds continues to exist in terms of health and mortality," said Scott Williams, Director of Professional Relations and Public Policy for the Men's Health Network, a health advocacy group based in Washington, DC. "Now more than ever steps are needed to improve on these numbers. Establishing an 'Office of Men's Health' is the logical place to start."Statistics show that educating men and their families about the importance of early detection can save lives. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the U.S. among men. An estimated 230,000 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone, and approximately 30,000 will die. The following statistics according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal the importance of creating an Office of Men's Health: â?¢Men do not seek medical help as often as women. Studies show that women are 100 percent more likely than men to visit a doctor, have regular check-ups and obtain preventive screening tests for serious diseases. â?¢Men are significantly less likely than women to recognize the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, such as their role in reducing the risk of many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. â?¢Men had a total cancer death rate that was 1.5 times higher than women (men: 238.9 per 100,000; women: 163.1). oProstate cancer accounts for 33 percent of all cancer cases oMen had a lung cancer death rate that was 1.8 times higher than women (men: 73.2 per 100,000; women: 41.6.) oMen had a colorectal cancer death rate that was 1.4 times higher than women (men: 23.7 per 100,000; women: 16.7). â?¢Men had a cardiovascular disease (CVD) death rate that was 1.5 times higher than women (men: 297.4 per 100,000; women: 197.2). â?¢The HIV/AIDS death rate was 3.0 times higher for men than for women (men: 7.4 per 100,000; women: 2.5). â?¢The life expectancy for males at birth was 5.4 years shorter than for females (male: 74.5; female: 79.9 years) â?¢The all-causes death rate for males was 1.4 times higher for men than for women (men: 1013.7 per 100,000; women: 715.2). # # #