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Alarm at male cancer check figures

"Alarming" figures show only a fraction of men in Europe have been screened for two common types of cancer.

An EU poll reveals that the majority of men know they should have preventive medical tests, but they have not sought out assessment for prostate or colon cancer.

Only 13% of European men said they have had the "Prostate Specific Antigen" (PSA) test, and even fewer - 8% - have been checked for colorectal cancer.

But more than six out of 10 are happy to submit themselves to dental checks and almost 40% get their eyes tested each year.

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: "Men should consult their doctors about regular screenings. The check-up data for these two types of cancer are alarming.

"It is, therefore, not enough simply to remind people or urge them to undergo tests. Strong incentives should be built into any campaigns or programmes designed for this purpose.

"A Commission Communication on Cancer will be submitted to the Member States in 2008 with proposals on how to address this situation."

But Prostate Cancer Charity chief executive John Neate said Mr Kyprianou's plea for more men to undergo tests is too simplistic, adding: "Suggesting that men should be strongly urged to undergo tests for prostate cancer - while appealing - seems to pay little attention to the complexity of the disease and to the lack of scientific evidence on the value of PSA population screening. However, Mr Kyprianou's call for more awareness of prostate cancer is very welcome."

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Prostate Cancer Charity

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