07 November 2023


Living longer and better: Men's health in focus


Statistically, men have a shorter life expectancy than women. Although the reasons for this are manifold, there are some clear weaknesses of the "stronger sex" that greatly reduce the quality of life and shorten the lifespan.


Men have a less pronounced health consciousness, they talk less often about their feelings and are more willing to take risks. Overall, this explains why prostate and testicular cancer, for example, are often discovered too late despite good chances of cure, or why mental illnesses such as depression and addiction often go untreated. Despite many initiatives by health experts, the understanding of healthy, balanced nutrition, regular exercise and the avoidance of obesity is less pronounced among boys and men, and prevention offers tend to reach this target group less well.


In addition, men display more pronounced risk behavior overall, they are comparatively more likely to take mental health problems and addictions lightly, they tend to overwork themselves at work, they ignore symptoms of chronic stress and burnout, and they go for preventive medical checkups less often. Their risky behavior is also the reason why accidents are a major cause of (serious) health consequences and deaths, especially among young men.
 Regular preventive medical checkups, but also more awareness of preventive health, can further increase men's quality of life and lifespan. This includes a healthy lifestyle, which can positively influence the risk of many diseases.


Healthy prostate and healthy testicles


When you think of men's health, you most likely think first of prostate and testicular cancer, which are among the most common cancers in men. And although these cancers occur in the same region of the body, where the testicles and prostate perform important reproductive functions, they have little in common.


Testicular cancer: tends to affect younger men


Testicular cancer occurs predominantly in young and younger men, but is less likely to be fatal because it can often still be treated well even in its more advanced stages. However, the earlier a tumor in the testicle is discovered, the better the chances of recovery. Testicular cancer is usually noticeable by changes in the testicle such as hardening, lumps, swelling, changes in size, a feeling of tension or sensitivity to touch. Even if there is no pain, those affected should immediately consult a doctor they trust. Men should perform a testicular palpation themselves once a month; in addition, a visit to a urologist is recommended once a year.


Prostate cancer: more likely to affect men in the second half of life


With around 5,000 new diagnoses per year, prostate cancer is the most common malignant tumor disease in men in Austria. Prostate cancer mainly occurs in the second half of life, i.e. from the age of 45 to 50. In the course of life, the prostate, which lies below the bladder, grows and can cause problems, even without a carcinoma being behind it. However, in the event of symptoms such as an increased urge to urinate, burning when urinating, blood in the urine or semen, or erectile dysfunction, a visit to the doctor is always advisable in order to clarify the cause.


Regular prostate examination from 45 years of age


In most cases, however, prostate cancer manifests itself relatively late through specific symptoms of the disease. Similar to breast cancer, however, a carcinoma should be detected as early as possible, without metastases having already formed. If diagnosed at the earliest possible stage of the disease, the chances of cure are usually very good. According to the Austrian Cancer Aid, the cumulative relative survival rate for prostate and testicular cancer three years after diagnosis is 90.6 to 96.6 percent. This makes regular screening examinations all the more important to ensure that carcinoma is detected at an early stage. The first prostate screening examination is recommended for men as early as age 45 and at regular intervals thereafter (every one to four years, depending on the PSA level). Those who have a family history of prostate cancer, in addition to the risk factor of age, should have the examination performed from the age of 40.


Recommended for early prostate detection:

  • Palpation of the prostate gland: The doctor palpates the prostate gland from the rectum, the examination is painless.
  • Blood test to determine the PSA value: PSA is a protein produced by prostate cells; the value can be elevated in the presence of cancer cells, but also for other reasons, which is why further examinations are always advisable. Men over 70 years of age should seek medical advice as to whether and at what intervals they would benefit from a determination of the PSA value.
  • Renal and lower abdominal ultrasound to determine prostate size and bladder emptying ability, urinalysis.


Therapy options for prostate and testicular cancer


If prostate cancer is diagnosed, several therapies such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy may be considered, depending on the stage and size of the carcinoma. In most cases, it is a combination of several. What brings the greatest individual success depends on many factors and must be clarified by a specialist. In most cases of testicular cancer, the affected testicle is surgically removed as the primary therapy. Depending on histology and stage, additional therapies may be used. In certain cases, if the prostate cancer is not very aggressive, the patient may be kept under close observation (active surveillance), but only on the recommendation of a specialist. More information on prostate and testicular cancer can be found at


Problem area men's soul: Depression and Co.


Mental illness is still largely a taboo subject. Admittedly, this does not only affect men, but it is all the more noticeable here. For example, a total of 730,000 people in Austria were diagnosed with depression in the previous year, but only 264,000 of them were men. This means that women are affected by depression about twice as often. However, the proportion of men suffering from this condition probably far exceeds the number of official diagnoses. It tends to go undiagnosed and thus untreated.


Male depression


The reasons why male depression is often not diagnosed in the first place are, for example, that it manifests itself differently or that symptoms are less visible. In addition, men are more reluctant to seek professional help, there are gender differences in the triggers for depression, and hormones may play a role. However, much has not yet been sufficiently researched. In professional circles, this is also referred to as "male depression". In addition, men deal with stress and problems differently, and they increasingly resort to coping strategies that lead to a vicious circle. These include the aforementioned high-risk behavior, social withdrawal, but also the issue of addiction. If the first signs of depression appear, this is all too often perceived as weakness - by those affected themselves and by others. The result is that the illness is not treated and continues to worsen. However, the prospects for successful treatment, especially through psychotherapy and medication, are better the earlier it is started. In many cases, the disease can be stopped or at least the symptoms can be alleviated.


Causes and signs of depression


Depression can affect anyone in the course of their life, and there can be a variety of causes, always several. The most common factors are a hereditary predisposition, metabolic and functional disorders in the brain, and psychosocial factors. Initial signs such as constant tiredness and fatigue, listlessness, irritability, anxiety, unspecific physical complaints, sleep disorders, loss of appetite or even a declining interest in intimate intimacy can, but do not necessarily, indicate a possible depression. All the more quickly, these should be clarified by a doctor.


The main symptoms of depression are

  • Depressed, depressive mood
  • Loss of interest, joylessness
  • Lack of drive, increased fatigability


Although mourning is not in itself a symptom of depression, mourning for a loved one, for example, can very well be one of the numerous triggers. Just as, for example, other loss experiences, persistent helplessness, mortification, disappointment and much more.


Treat depression, take suicide prevention seriously


If depression is not treated and the disease continues to worsen, it can sometimes even be fatal, as in many cases it leads to suicidal thoughts and actions.

Important emergency numbers for when your soul is on fire:

  • Emergency Center: Center for Mental Health "Prof. N. Shipkovensky": Tel.: (02) 981 00 06 Help for people in difficult life situations or periods of crisis.
  • Bulgarian Red Cross - Telephones of trust: Sofia: (02) 81 64 892 / Plovdiv: (032) 61 51 / Yambol: (046) 662 904
  • In acute emergency situations where there is a danger to yourself or others, do not be afraid to call 112


Male addictive behavior


Depression or another mental illness does not necessarily have to be accompanied by an addiction disorder, but they often occur together. In fact, addiction is considered the most common mental illness. Especially in the case of addiction to addictive substances such as alcohol, nicotine and illegal drugs, men are affected significantly more often than women.


Reasons for dependencies


The reasons for an increased male addiction potential are manifold. In addiction research, biological, psychological and social influences play an equally important role, which is essential for successful treatment and prevention. The fact that men tend to be more impulsive or have less self-control than women should also not be ignored. Differences between the sexes can also be observed in the choice of addictive substances. In addition, there is a social acceptance of alcohol in particular. However, alcohol abuse and its consequences even lead to death in men more often than average.


Recognize an addiction - and act


Anyone who thinks they recognize a possible dependency problem in themselves or in people around them should seek professional support in any case. There are many offers for those affected and their relatives, and it is better to look once too often than once too seldom.


Important counseling centers and more information on addiction and dependency can be found here.


Movember: Wear a mustache and talk about it


Movember", which has long been on everyone's lips in many parts of the world, sends a clear signal for more men's health. Or rather on everyone's lips, because the symbol is the mustache that many men grow every year in November. The word was created from the words "moustache" and "November" in the early 2000s in Australia with the aim of raising funds for research into and prevention of typical men's health problems and to raise awareness. In the beginning, the focus was mainly on prostate and testicular cancer, but over the years mental illnesses were also added. Because one thing is common to all of them: In order to further curb them, first and foremost more money and more awareness are needed in the male population.


This article is purely informative. We recommend that you always contact a medical specialist when you need more information about your health.

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гр. София 1000,
бул. Тодор Александров 18

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© UNIQA Bulgaria