January 30, 2023

Men's health research

Kaiser Permanente research scientists have published more than 400 articles related to men’s health since 2007. These articles have been cited almost 12,000 times.

This brief summarizes the contributions of Kaiser Permanente Research since 2007 on the topic of men’s health. Although men’s health encompasses a wide range of health issues, this brief will focus on specific conditions affecting men (such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and erectile dysfunction), as well as certain conditions for which men have specific or elevated risks (such as infertility, hypogonadism, bladder cancer, cardiovascular disease, back pain, and opioid use disorders).

Men in the United States are at risk for a variety of acute and chronic health problems. Approximately 1 in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point, making it the second-most common cancer among American men, and the American Cancer Society estimated that over 30,000 men died of this disease in 2019.1 Testicular cancer is less common than prostate cancer, affecting 1 in every 250 males, but it typically affects much younger men and boys, with an average age at diagnosis of just 33.1 In addition, more than three-quarters of the 80,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year are men, and nearly 13,000 men were expected to die from this cancer in 2019.1 Men are also more likely than women to suffer from common chronic illnesses. Cardiovascular disease causes 1 of every 4 deaths in men, and a large majority of sudden cardiac events occur in men.2 Furthermore, men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with opioid use disorders.3

458 Journal Articles, 11,646 Citation , 70 Citations in PubMed Guidelines

Source: Kaiser Permanente Publications Library and Scite metrics, as of March 7, 2022.

458 Journal Articles, 11,646 Citations, 70 Citations in PubMed Guidelines.

Many of the health problems men face can significantly affect quality of life. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland often leading to urinary health problems, is a very common condition, affecting more than 14 million men.4 Erectile dysfunction also affects approximately 20% of men, and becomes more common with age: One study estimated that ED is experienced by 5% of men under 40, but 70% of men 70 and older.5 ED often occurs in men with low testosterone, or hypogonadism, which is estimated to affect 6% of Americans.6,7 Infertility is an issue for 1 in 6 couples in the United States, and male infertility is implicated in two-thirds of all cases.8 Moreover, while low back pain is more common in women,9 men are much more likely to be prevented from working by this pain.10

Men’s health is an active area of study for Kaiser Permanente Research. Scientists across the organization have used our rich, comprehensive, longitudinal data to advance knowledge in the areas of understanding risk, improving patient outcomes, and translating research findings into policy and practice. We have published more than 450 articles related to men’s health since 2007.11 Together, these articles have been cited nearly 12,000 times. These articles are the product of observational studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and other studies led by Kaiser Permanente scientists. Our unique environment — a fully integrated care and coverage model in which our research scientists, clinicians, medical groups, and health plan leaders collaborate — lets us contribute generalizable knowledge on men’s health, and many other research topics.


  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures, 2019. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society;2019.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men and Heart Disease Fact Sheet. 2017. Accessed April 15, 2019.
  3. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2017.
  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). 2014. Accessed April 15, 2019.
  5. Selvin E, Burnett AL, Platz EA. Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in the US. Am J Med. 2007;120(2):151-157.
  6. Araujo AB, Esche GR, Kupelian V, et al. Prevalence of symptomatic androgen deficiency in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92(11):4241-4247.
  7. Araujo AB, O’Donnell AB, Brambilla DJ, et al. Prevalence and incidence of androgen deficiency in middle-aged and older men: estimates from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(12):5920-5926.
  8. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Defining Infertility. Birmingham, AL American Society for Reproductive Medicine; 2014.
  9. Shmagel A, Foley R, Ibrahim H. Epidemiology of Chronic Low Back Pain in US Adults: Data From the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016;68(11):1688-1694.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A NIOSH Look at Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Worker Health by Industry and Occupation. Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; 2001.
  11. 11. KPPL Search, conducted on March 7, 2022: ((dc.subject.mesh:”prostatic neoplasms” OR dc.subject.mesh:”- prostate hyperplasia” OR dc.subject.mesh:”prostatism” OR dc.subject.mesh:”Prostatic Diseases” OR dc.subject.mesh:”testicular neoplasms” OR dc.subject.mesh:”scrotum” OR dc.subject.mesh:”testis” OR dc.subject. mesh:”men’s health” OR dc.subject.mesh:”erectile dysfunction” OR dc.subject.mesh:”impotence, vasculogenic” OR dc.subject.mesh:”penile erection” OR dc.subject.mesh:”penis” OR dc.subject.mesh:”infertility, male” OR dc.subject.mesh:”semen” OR dc.subject.mesh:”vasectomy” OR dc.subject.mesh:”Epididymitis” OR dc.subject.mesh:”Penile Diseases” OR dc.subject.mesh:”Spermatic Cord Torsion” OR dc.subject. mesh:”Cryptorchidism” OR dc.subject.mesh:”Orchitis” ) OR (title:”prostate cancer”~4 OR title:”prostatectomy” OR title:”androgen deprivation therapy” OR title:”prostate antigen”~3 OR title:”prostate carcinoma”~4 OR title:”prostatic enlargement” OR title:”prostatic hyperplasia” OR title:”prostatitis” OR title:”Sildenafil “ OR title:”- testicular cancer”~4 OR title:”testicular tumors”~4 OR title:”testicular seminoma” OR title:”neoplasia testis” OR title:”paratesticular adenomatoid tumor” OR title:”erectile dysfunction” OR abstract:”erectile dysfunction” OR title:”peyronie’s disease” OR title:”vasectomy” OR title:”circumcision”) OR ((title:men OR title:male) NOT (title:- women OR title:female)) OR (citation:”Am J Mens Health” OR citation:”Harv Mens Health Watch” OR citation:”J Mens Health” )) AND dc.type:”Journal Article” AND dc.date.issued:[2007 2022].