Three out of five British men aged 45 and over say they do not monitor their health and only see the doctor when absolutely necessary, a poll shows.
Around 42% agree they should have health check-ups but admit they never do anything about it.
The findings come from an online survey of 2,000 people to mark the start of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It’s very worrying that the majority of men seem not to be looking after their health. Prostate cancer kills 10,000 men every year, and often there are no symptoms. And when there are signs of a prostate problem, some men still put off going to see their doctor.
“We would urge men across the UK to find out more about the disease and talk to their GP if they have any concerns about their prostate. They can also speak to our specialist nurses for expert information and support, by calling the charity’s helpline.”
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is being organised jointly by the charity and Marks & Spencer.
The store is donating 10% of its Autograph men’s underwear sales to support the charity’s specialist nurse-led helpline.
Mr Sharp added: “We all have a role a play in the fight against prostate cancer. On the first day of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we must wake up to this disease and stand up for men as a nation. We must mobilise everyone against this disease, the most common cancer in men which over 250,000 UK men are living with right now.
”Whether we are male or female, we can all make a difference by encouraging the men in our lives to be aware that they have a prostate and when they might want to see a GP with any concerns. It’s critical that we start making a difference today.”
Scott Fyfe, director of menswear at Marks & Spencer, said: “As scary as the words prostate cancer may be, we hope that by partnering with Prostate Cancer UK for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we can get the whole nation to take a moment and find out more about this disease and how they can fight it.”