Men and women present different patterns of diseases, exposure to health determinants and access to health services. Biological factors and social roles make women and men vulnerable to certain illnesses in differing degrees and severity and at different periods over their lifetime. In Europe, life expectancy for men is on average 6 years lower than for women.
The most frequent causes of death in Europe are diseases of the circulatory system followed by cancer, both for men and for women. The incidence and mortality rates of certain conditions, such as cancer of lung and colon/rectum, ischemic heart diseases and traffic accidents, are higher among men. Some specific diseases related to reproductive organs, such as prostate cancer, affect men exclusively.
The EU stresses the importance of raising awareness on the relationship between gender and health and supports Member States in gathering relevant and comparable data and addressing health disparities through gender-sensitive health promotion, prevention and care.