This November a number of the Hoffman Kelly men are taking part in Movember by growing moustaches for the month of November and raising money for this worthy charity. While we have received a largely positive and sometimes cheeky response from colleagues, clients and spouses, it is worth it as the money raised goes to great causes which impact all of us at some point in our lives.
Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis, yet it’s rarely talked about. Men are dying too young – globally, men are dying on average 6 years earlier than women. By 2030, the Movember foundation aims to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%. The three main causes Movember supports to reach this goal are prostate cancer research, testicular cancer research and mental health and suicide prevention.
1 in 6 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer within their lifetime. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men and 75% of all suicides in Australia are men. With stats like this, it is no wonder that this is where Movember aims its fundraising support. Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world. Movember is also a fantastic opportunity to raise the general awareness of each of these causes so I’ll briefly run through the facts for each of them:
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Australia. Early detection is the key. If prostate cancer is detected early there is a 98% chance of survival, however if it is detected late, those survival rates drop below 26%. Once you are 50 (or 45 if you have family history), you need to have a conversation with your doctor about PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) testing which is a simple blood test and the primary method of testing for prostate cancer.
Not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up. Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
Signs and symptoms include:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
In Australia, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15 – 39. At greater than 95%, the odds of survival for men with testicular cancer are better than good – but for some men, long-term treatment-related side effects mean quality of life is severely compromised. So if something does not seem right, head to the doctor.
Mental Health & Suicide Prevention:
Globally, every minute, a man dies by suicide. In Australia, 75% of suicides are men. Most of us say we’d be there for our mates if they need us. But most of us also say that we feel uncomfortable asking mates for help so something needs to change. Days such as R U OK? are doing a great job in raising awareness of mental health but we need to be continually talking, asking, listening and checking in on our friends and family. You don’t need to be an expert and you don’t have to be the sole solution, but being there for someone, listening and giving your time can be life-saving.
If this article encourages just one person to have a check-up with then I will consider this Movember a success, regardless of the funds that we raise. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to our Movember team (Hoffmo Kelly) please follow this link [https://au.movember.com/donate/details?teamId=2361516].