One gender gap gets very little attention. That is the gap in health outcomes where males have a lower life expectancy, higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and a host of other medical problems. The rate of male suicide is around three times that of females.


There are many reasons for this – some are modifiable and others not so much. What is notable is the lack of interest in the subject by those who are usually outraged by any discrepancy between different groups in society.

Dr Joe Kosterich, Clinical Editor

The ‘long tail’ of COVID-19 restrictions may see the suicide rate and discrepancy between the sexes rise further. There have been predictions (which hopefully are wrong) of a 50% increase in suicide over the next five years. Disproportionately it is males who have been affected by restrictions as they are more likely to do work which cannot be done from home (e.g. drive a truck or lay bricks) and are more likely to own a small business. 

Females are more likely to work in the government sector or in roles which can be done from home (e.g. teaching, administration, law).

Now before you all scream, I am simply highlighting the reality of the situation and not seeking to point the finger at anyone or anything. If we don’t acknowledge that there is a problem, we will never be able to fix or even improve it.

As doctors we spend our time helping others with their health and we are not always that great at looking after our own. I would urge you all to read the article on doctors’ mental health. More importantly, make sure you are looking after your own health and maybe consider checking in on colleagues with a simple – how are you doing or are you OK?


This month we have clinical articles which examines different aspect of prostate cancer including preparation and also rehabilitation. Sleep apnoea and obesity affects both sexes but are more prevalent in males. Conversely, we look at lipoedema which affects almost exclusively females. For something completely different, unconscious bias is considered. 

As doctors we spend our time helping others with their health and we are not always that great at looking after our own. I would urge you all to read the article on doctors’ mental health. More importantly, make sure you are looking after your own health and maybe consider checking in on colleagues with a simple – how are you doing or are you OK?

The changing narrative around the origins of COVID-19 reminds us that genuine science is never settled. By its nature scientific inquiry starts with the premise that what we currently hold to be true is not and it must be either verified or discarded. As Tommy Lee Jones asks Will Smith in the original Men in Black – “What will you know tomorrow?”