This month, the moustache is set to take centre stage as Australia marks the awareness month that is Movember.
Highlighting the importance of men’s health, with a particular focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention, the event is one of the most successful fundraising campaigns on the calendar.
But still, this year’s Men’s Health Report Card by the Australian Men’s Health Foundation indicates there is much work to be done. Here’s an insight into the state of men’s health in 2019.
Australia may be renowned as having one of the world’s best lifestyles and healthiest populations, but still the Men’s Health Report Card notes on average Australian men die six years younger than women, and in many cases these deaths are preventable.
The report notes:
· 4 times more men under 65 die from heart disease than women the same age
· 1 in 3 men die of cancer compared with 1 in 4 women
· 3 in 4 suicides are men (with 6 men and 2 women dying each day on average)
· 93 per cent of workplace fatalities are men
· 3 in 4 road fatalities are male, with 3 men and boys a day dying in road accidents
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, but if found and treated early the prognosis is generally good.
Movember explains: “When detected early, prostate cancer survival rates are better than 98%. Find it late, and those survival rates drop below 26%.”
At the age of 50, men should be having a conversation with their doctor about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. If they are of African or Caribbean descent, or if there is a family history, they should be having this conversation slightly earlier, aged 45.
In Australia, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men. In most cases the outcome is positive with a 95 per cent chance of survival.
For one in 20, the outlook is not so good and the key is early detection, with men urged to ‘know their nuts’, and have any inconsistencies assessed by a doctor.
It’s a tragic reality that mental health and suicide are major issues for both young and mature Australian males.
Men account for 75 per cent of all suicides nationally and it is the leading cause of death for men aged under 55.
Critically there are often few clues that men are struggling.
The Australian Men’s Health Report Card notes: “A range of Australian research has found that over half of all male suicides: 78% of male farmer suicides and 83% of suicides in older men, were not predominantly associated with a mental health diagnosis”.
That’s why recent years have seen a major focus on encouraging men to open up and talk. The statistics above are also among the catalysts for movements like R U OK Day and ManUp.
If you fear a friend is struggling, Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), MensLine Australia (1800 903 919) and LifeLine (13 11 14) are among the organisations that can assist
This Movember, you can support the cause by raising funds, rocking some moustache apparel, supporting men in their Mo endeavours, or quite simply by having a conversation about men’s health with your partner, son, brother, father or male friend.
As Movember explains: “Women tend to be the gateway to health in a man’s life– whether it’s a mother or daughter, wife, girlfriend or pal”.
Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her lounge room floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.