Do you know the difference between men's health myth and reality?

Myth: Only women get breast cancer
Both men and women have breast tissue – women just have more of it. This means it is possible for men to develop breast cancer. Approximately 100 Australian men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Ninety per cent of those men are over 50. Catching breast cancer early is the best way to ensure successful treatment, so look out for common symptoms such as a painless lump near the nipple, discharge from the nipple, or a change of shape (such as dimpling) of the pectoral area or nipple. If you think you have any of these symptoms make an appointment with your GP, or to find out more visit the Cancer Australia’s Breast cancer in men website.

Myth: Wearing hats can cause baldness
Wearing a hat, or someone running their fingers through your hair won’t cause hair loss. Combing, brushing, twisting, or gently styling your hair can’t be held responsible either. However, it’s best to avoid being too rough with your manly mane so as to prevent hair breakage. More than 95 per cent of male hair loss is due to genetics. 

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Myth: Shoe size is linked to penis length
Two urologists at St. Mary’s Hospital in London conducted a study involving 104 men and found no statistically significant correlation between shoe size and stretched penile length.

Myth: Men reach their sexual peak at 18
It really depends as what you define as sexual peak. The levels of testosterone produced by men peaks at the age of 18, which is where the statement holds true. However, peak hormone levels don’t necessarily equate to sexual performance, which is what people think of when they hear this statement.

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Myth: No pain, no gain
You don’t gain anything from pain. In fact, if you work out until you feel pain (or go past that point), you could injure yourself.

Myth: Men don’t have to be concerned about osteoporosis
According to Healthy Bones Australia (the organisation formerly known as Osteoporosis Australia), osteoporosis and osteopenia are not just seen in women only. Men account for up to 30 per cent of all fractures related to osteoporosis and osteopenia. Risk factors for osteoporosis include age, low levels of testosterone, alcohol abuse, smoking and gastrointestinal disease.

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Myth: You can break your penis
This one is true. While the penis doesn’t have a bone it is able to be broken and it is more common than you may think. It occurs when the penile corpora buckles and pops and it is extremely painful. Penile fractures are more likely to occur when the woman is on top, so take care when in this position.

Myth: Drinking beer causes a ‘beer belly’
We’ve all heard the term ‘beer gut’, but while beer is packed with calories and can cause weight gain, there is no evidence suggesting that it would cause weight gain around your middle section. There is, however, some evidence that the sugar content in soft drinks can increase belly fat.

Do you put much stock in common health beliefs? Which health beliefs were you surprised to learn were nothing more than a myth?

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Written by Ben