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Wednesday 28.06.2017 | Name days: Kitija, Viesturs, Viestards

Men in Latvia die from cancer more often; lifespan ten years shorter

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«To contribute to the country’s development and competitiveness, Latvia needs to improve men’s health indexes and reduce mortality rates among men, which are considerably higher than mortality indexes for women,» as concluded by Health Economy Association.

«The motivation to take care of one’s health is very low among Latvian men. This is especially true for middle-aged and senior generations. Men do not go to the doctor’s often enough. They avoid resolving health problems. Consequences for that are rather sad. Men in Latvia on average have ten-year shorter lives than men in Western European countries. More than 100,000 women in Latvia have no husbands, many children have no fathers. The country itself loses labour force and potential revenue because of increased mortality rates among men,» as concluded by Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s Urology Clinic manager Vilnis Lietuvietis in Health Economy Association’s latest issue Health Economist.

Life ten years shorten than in Europe

Although the proportion of men in Latvia is higher – 52.1% of newborns are male as opposed to 47.9% female – this proportion changes drastically as life goes by. This is because the overall proportion of men in society tends to decline to 45.9% and increase to 54.1% for women, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

The average life expectancy at birth for men in Latvia is significantly below the average in the EU (72.9 in Latvia and 77.8 in EU). For women, on the other hand, it is seven years longer (80.1 in Latvia and 83.3 in EU).

Looking at causes of death among Latvian men, cardiovascular diseases clearly stay in the lead with more than 50% of cases of death. Nevertheless, some improvements are noted in this area – spread of diseases and overall mortality has been slowly declining in recent years, as BNN was told by the Health Economy Association.

Cancer kills the most

The situation is the worst with the second most widely spread cause of death – malignant tumours. Mortality rates involving cancer have a tendency to increase. In addition, mortality among men is considerably higher than it is among women. Every third man diagnosed with a tumour also suffers from genitourinary cancer. This includes prostate, kidney, bladder, testicular, or penile cancers, experts say.

«This clearly shows that more focus should be put on male oncology in the country. This includes sorting out and improving healthcare system, allocating additional funding for modern treatment methods, diagnostic and medicine. A more targeted approach towards combating oncological diseases among men would help reduce mortality rates among men,» Lietuvietis comments.

Prostate cancer in the lead

Among the malignant tumours that threaten men in Latvia the most, prostate cancer is at the top of the list. It is diagnosed for more than 1,000 patients every year.

Trends show that prostate cancer more and more often affects young men, including 33% of men of working age under 65. In recent years, public education campaigns have borne fruit. The number of early diagnosed cancer cases tends to increase in Latvia. Unfortunately, so does the number of deaths. Because prostate cancer shows almost no symptoms at an early stage, it develops slowly, and 2/3 of uncovered prostate cancer cases are uncovered in late stages.


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