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Why Half Of Dads Avoid Health Chats With Their Sons

Health issues can be a taboo, especially with men, but most believe being available to chat is important.

Nearly half of British fathers admit they avoid discussing men’s health issues with their sons, according to research.

One in five dodge such chats because they don’t want to scare their sons.

A similar amount – 17% – admit they struggle to chat about men’s health because they find it awkward and uncomfortable.

The poll of 2,009 dads aged 33+ with sons aged 18+ found 65% want to be more confident speaking about health.

Seven in 10 wish health chats could be as commonplace as talking about sports.

One in three dads said they wouldn’t know how to start a sensitive health conversation.

Not having enough knowledge about it (20%), finding the right ‘time and place’ to chat (17%), and not wanting to cause distress (16%) were cited as reasons men don’t openly talk to their boys about men’s cancer.

Dr. Prantik Das, a clinical oncologist at GenesisCare, which commissioned the research, said: “Health issues can be a taboo, especially with men, as our ‘Break the Silence’ research shows.”

“Cancer can be difficult to discuss. Many men fear the impact a cancer diagnosis may have on their lives and the lives of their loved ones.”

“This Father’s Day we want dads to take the time to have a conversation with their sons about any risks – particularly those that may be hereditary.”

SYMBOL – 10 May 2023, Schleswig-Holstein, Groß Grönau: A young father plays with his six-month-old son in the living room. On 18.05.2023, young men also celebrate Father’s Day. Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa (Photo by JENS BÜTTNER/picture alliance via Getty Images) 

“By fostering open dialogue, encouraging early detection, and highlighting the available innovative treatment options, we hope to improve outcomes and help more men live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

More than one in six (18%) dads find it uncomfortable to discuss checking for men’s cancer with their sons regularly.

The majority (87%) believe it’s important for their offspring to know they’re available for chats about it.


Nearly nine in 10 (86%) agree it’s important for their sons to know if they have an increased risk of hereditary cancer to ensure they are aware of the development of any signs and symptoms.

Of those surveyed, 69% would consider genetic testing if a family member was diagnosed with cancer.

More than three-quarters (79%) would like to learn more about the signs and symptoms of men’s cancer to provide more guidance to their sons during conversations.

While 69% want to better understand the latest cancer treatment options available.

Four in five (82%) agree that the knowledge would make them feel more equipped with a self-diagnosis or a family diagnosis.

This Father’s Day, GenesisCare, the UK’s leading independent cancer care provider, is appealing to dads to break the stigma around men talking about health issues and, in particular, cancer.

Geoff Seymour, 65, was successfully treated using MRIdian MR Linac in just five days.

In less than a week, he returned to his normal life – showing the value of early diagnosis and treatment.

After Geoff’s father died from prostate cancer, he got his GP to regularly monitor his Prostate Specific Antigen levels.

The minute a change was detected, they booked him in for treatment.

This awareness and quick response were key in his recovery.

Geoff said: “It shouldn’t take a life-changing disease to encourage men to have a life-saving conversation.

“Having witnessed my father’s radiotherapy experience, I wasn’t keen on the route.

“Given these fears, Dr. Prantik Das told me about a ground-breaking radiotherapy treatment available through GenesisCare using MRIdian technology.


“Over just five consecutive days, I was fully treated with only 40 minutes of radiotherapy each day.

“The death of my father encouraged me to consider my own genetic health risks and those of my sons, who are 36 and 40.

“It wasn’t something I had ever discussed with them. But knowing that it could save their lives, you bet I found a way to bring it up.

“It was awkward at first, but now we check in every now and then pretty easily.

“I would encourage all men to get over their fears, take the time out and just ask the question.”

Men have a one in two chance of being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

And it’s estimated that between three and 10 in every 100 cancers in the UK are associated with an inherited gene.

Recognizing that not everyone finds it easy to initiate conversations around men’s health, the independent cancer provider offers advice on where to start.


  1. Start with empathy. Approach your chats with genuine care and understanding, emphasizing that you want to support your son’s overall well-being.
  2. Choose the right moment. Find a comfortable and relaxed setting where both you and your son can talk openly without distractions.
  3. Encourage questions: Create a safe space for your son to ask any questions he may have. Assure him that no question is off-limits or embarrassing.
  4. Connect the family dots. Foster open chats, explore your hereditary medical history and acknowledge any potential risks. This will help you determine the most effective approach.
  5. Use relatable examples. Share stories from individuals who have overcome health challenges. Discuss well-man check-ups to emphasize the importance of early detection and prevention.
  6. Provide reliable resources. Equip your son with trusted sources of information, such as educational websites or reputable organizations. This encourages further exploration and understanding.

GenesisCare offers a range of innovative cancer treatments, including precision MRI-guided radiotherapy and Theranostics.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of cancer and innovative cancer treatments available, click here.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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