HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) causes more than 70% of anal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer and penile cancer
HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 18 November 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has raised health awareness across the globe. But it has been noted that men, compared with women, often are unwilling and do not have the motivation to engage in health-seeking behaviours such as nutritional eating or regular body checks. Cultural and conventional norms on masculinity impact men's choices in paying attention to their health. Very often, men seem to demonstrate avoidance and negligence of healthcare which results in delayed diagnosis and treatmentsMeanwhile, there is a growing number of men suffering from problems such as prostate and cardiovascular diseases.
To increase men's awareness to their physical and mental health in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA) is launching the 'Men's Health Week' from November 16 to 21, in which doctors from different specialties are invited to conduct online seminars and share common health topics with the public such as 'Diabetes Management/ Hypertension', 'Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia', 'Cancer Survivorship', just to name a few.
According to statistics1,2 from the Department of Health and the Hong Kong Cancer Registry of the Hospital Authority (HKCaR), there is an increasing prevalence in the younger population on various men's health issues. Take prostate cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in men, as an example. The number of new cases increased by 60% in the past decade, from 1,369 cases in 2008 to 2,204 cases in 2018. Although the median age of incidence is 71, the number of patients aged 50 and above has risen to 10%. Therefore, young people should never take it lightly. And in response to these information, the Hong Kong Medical Association launches "Men's Health Week" in the hope to promote health awareness among the local male population.
'Through various talks organized during the Men's Health Week, we hope to increase the public's awareness of disease prevention and management, as well as increasing men's attention to their physical and mental health, thereby improving the overall health of the Hong Kong citizens,' said Dr. CHOI Kin, President of the HKMA.
HKMA points out that all topics covered during the 'Men's Health Week' are closely related to men's health in the modern society, which include:
- Take HPV (Human Papillomavirus) as an example. The virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, some of which are high-risk genotypes that can cause cytopathic changes and cancer. Although men are not at risk of cervical cancer, they are still at risk of being infected by genital warts and other diseases caused by HPV, such as anal cancer (more than 90% is related to HPV), oropharyngeal cancer (70% is linked to HPV) and penile cancer (around 70% is associated with HPV). In the past two decades, there has been a rising trend in these diseases3. In addition, male carriers also have the risk of transmitting the virus to their partners.
- A survey by the HKMA conducted earlier on 'Should Boys be offered HPV Vaccination in the Hong Kong Childhood Immunization Programme (HKCIP)' shows that 72% of the 126 doctors recommended that school boys aged 11-15 to receive HPV vaccination. Those supporters considered that, 'school boys can also be easily infected with HPV', 'HPV vaccine is proven to be highly efficacious' and 'the consequences of being infected with HPV is also serious for boys'.
- According to information from the Census and Statistics Department and the Department of Health, men are more likely to suffer from diseases including chronic respiratory problems, prostate, diabetes, stroke, hypertension and heart diseases due to their poor habits in daily lives. For example, men are relatively more business entertaining but they don't pay much attention to fitness as women do. In addition, even if there are body signals, men are unwilling to telling others as a matter of reputation, leading to a delay in seeking medical treatment.
- From the psychological perspective, urbanite is living a hectic pace of life and work, it is therefore inevitable to suffer from mental stress. However, traditional values generally bring greater expectations and pressure to men in various aspects such as family and society. Poor mental health can lead to physical health issues such as depression, stomach ulcers and heart disease. When tackling with stress, men tend to engage in high-risk activities such as drinking and smoking more often in comparison to women. Consequently, they are also more likely to develop cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.
- Meanwhile, traditional society expects men to be strong, causing fewer male patients than female in taking the initiative to seek medical treatment. A number of them are reluctant to admit and accept that they have health problems, and many of them have to be accompanied by their family members or are forced to receive treatment. As a result, they are more likely to miss out the 'golden period' for treatment. In addition, men are also less likely to relieve stress through sharing with others. In case of depression and other psychological problems occur, cases of suicide and alcohol abuse will be more serious comparing to women.
Dr. MAK Siu King, Vice President of the HKMA, adds that general public are welcomed to participate during the 'Men's Health Week' where medical education seminars will be also held for local and overseas doctors and scholars for in-depth discussion and to enhance the level of the medical profession in Hong Kong.
'Men's Health Week' is organized by the HKMA with an aim to promote men's health knowledge and arouse attention of the society to men's health problems, as well as self-care awareness of men in Hong Kong, in turn to enhance the overall men's health level. At the same time, the government is expected to pay more attention to men's health and allocate more resources in this aspect, such as expanding the current arrangements of HPV vaccination from schoolgirls to school boys, so that men can maintain a healthy body and mind.
To learn more about the seminars and talks, please log on https://www.thkma.org/menshealthweek/
Public Talk Information for Men's Health Week
Date & Time
Innovation for Men's Health: How to Meet the Unmet Need?
Diabetes Management/ Hypertension
Dr. AU YEUNG Yick Cheung
November 17, 5:45-6:45PM
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia / Male Depression
Dr. YEUNG Hip Wo, Victor / Dr. Greg MAK
November 18, 5:45-6:45PM
Anal Cancer / Penile Cancer
Dr. WONG Tin Yau, Andrew / Dr. LAM Pei, Wayne
November 19, 5:45-6:45PM
Telemedicine in Stroke Patients / Interventional Treatment for Stroke
Dr. MAK Hoi Kwan, Calvin / Dr. WONG Ping Hong, Derek
November 20, 5:45-6:45PM
Novo Therapies: How to Meet the Unmet Need?
Cancer Survivorship / Support Services Sharing from Cancer Information
Dr. TSANG Wai Kong / Mr. Alan NG, Ms. Natalie FONG
1. Hospital Authority: Cancer Statistics in 2018
2. Hospital Authority: Hong Kong Cancer Registry -- Top 10 Cancers in Hong Kong
3. Bailey HH et al.: Journal of Clinical Oncology: American Society of Clinical Oncology Statement: Human Papillomavirus Vaccination for Cancer Prevention, 2016; 34(15): 1803-1812 https://www.edcan.org.au/assets/edcan/files/JCO-2016-Bailey-JCO.2016.67.2014.pdf