Four in 10 men have put off seeing a doctor about a health concern or have had a health check delayed in 2020, according to “concerning” figures from insurer Aegon.
Men were more likely than women to have a scheduled health screening delayed because of the pandemic (22% compared to 15%), the Aegon-commissioned survey of 2,001 adults found.
Simon Jacobs, the company’s head of underwriting and claims, said this was concerning news to receive during November, which is Men’s Health Awareness Month, and reiterated that early detection was critical in treating diseases such as cancer.
“Cancer is one of the main reasons men claim on their critical illness cover. Many men learn that they may potentially have cancer following a planned screening or doctor’s appointment, so delays to any health screenings or appointments with a GP will potentially lead to many going undetected for longer,” he warned.
“Campaigns like Movember have gone a long way over the years to motivate men to be more aware of their health and wellness. More men are taking notice of serious health concerns early enough to be able to treat them, which can save lives. It would be a real tragedy to see this deteriorate because of the pandemic.”
Aegon saw a 24% reduction in the volume of critical illness claims received between April and September 2020, compared to the same period last year, coinciding with the fall in health screenings.
In the first half of 2020 Aegon paid out less than a fifth on prostate cancer critical illness claims than was paid out for this type of cancer in the whole of 2019.
Cancer as a whole accounted for 52% of all male critical illness claims Aegon received in 2019. Prostate cancer the most common, accounting for 27% of cancer claims; followed by cancer of the bowel, colon and rectum, which together accounted for 14% of critical illness claims.
“As the pandemic continues, we would urge people to seek medical advice should they have any concerns and if offered a screening appointment to do their utmost to make it happen if it is safe to do so,” said Jacobs.