Celebrating Men’s Health in November

November 06, 2017

The Movember Foundation is a global charity dedicated to focusing on promoting men’s health in three key areas, prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. Movember Foundation’s goal is to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%, by the year 2030, internationally. They seek to do this by disseminating information about health risks, getting checkups and publishing health promotion material that gives men the information they need in order to live long healthy lives.


The Movember Foundation began in 2003, with two friends seeing if they could start a trend because the mo had all but disappeared; by 2004 they had a website and a significant amount of donations that were put towards the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. From there the Movember Foundation has grown and promotes the health of men everywhere.


Prostate Health

Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and who have received treatment do not necessarily have a good quality of life; research has been conducted into promoting quality of life post-prostate cancer. Cancer survival rates are improving among developed nations, and the outcome of research into promoting the best quality of life has been to prescribe good nutrition and exercise routines, and management post-treatment through allied health multidisciplinary teams.


The older a man is, the greater his risk of prostate health, the great majority (97%) of prostate cancers occur in men aged 50 and older. African-American men have the greatest rates ethnically of prostate cancer, and being overweight or obese contributes to a greater risk of developing the disease.


Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Indicating Testing Necessary

Prostate cancer can cause no symptoms for quite a number of years; general screening past the age of forty is recommended as a result. Symptoms can be present, and these include

  • A need to urinate frequently at night
  • Difficulty starting or holding back urine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in the semen or urine
  • Pain or stiffness in back, hips, or lower thighs
  • Pressure or pain in the rectum


Testing for Prostate Cancer

Testing for prostate cancer is simple, it can involve a pathology test, the PSA test, which indicates possible cancer in the prostate, and a digital rectal exam. An ultrasound can also confirm possible tumours in the male genital area. After a pre-examination, generally a biopsy is performed under anaesthetic which requires hospitalisation.


Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Traditional western treatment for prostate cancer after diagnosis includes removal of the prostate gland, and surrounding tissues if the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the area. Chemotherapy can be used as a treatment, radiotherapy is also used to destroy metastatic cells, and hormone treatment is also an option. Hormone therapy involves reducing the amount of testosterone in the body which prevents cancer from growing. Remission can last for several years.


Testicular Cancer Symptoms

Another critical facet in the Movember Foundation’s work to promote the health of men is to promote awareness of testicular cancer, and treatment and prevention. Testicular cancer has a few symptoms, the most noticeable is a painless lump on either of the testes. Men with testicular cancer may have pain in the abdomen or groin, and men may also end up growing breasts as a result of the changing hormones. Symptoms of spread cancer can include headaches, stomach ache, shortness of breath, coughing up blood and lower back pain.


Testing for Testicular Cancer

If there are any noticeable lumps on the testicles or any other signs or symptoms of concern, it is worth having a general practitioner check these out, and refer you for a biopsy if necessary. This will occur either under a local anaesthetic or under a general, depending on the size of the lump. The lump, should it be cancerous, will then be removed, and follow up treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) will occur.


Mental Health and Men

Men experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and the Men’s Shed movement, as well as Beyond Blue, and the Movember Foundation are focusing on developing the awareness of the need for men to receive support.

Men are regarded as bottling things up, but when you’re feeling down, taking action to call in extra support is the responsible thing to do. Trying to go it alone when you’re feeling down increases the risk of depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated. Depression is a high-risk factor for suicide, and plays a contributing role to the big difference in suicide risks for men and women.’

Depression can come as a result of burnout and other contributing factors, including recent bereavement, difficulty with relationships, financial difficulties or other contributing issues. The best way to recover from anxiety and depression is to have an action plan. Seeing a general practitioner for a referral to a psychologist, or self-referral to a counsellor is a wise choice in putting together a plan for improving mental health.

Group support programs, or attending places like the Men’s Shed for support and encouragement, mateship and positive activities are both healthy ways to recover. With treatment, support and a plan, healing from anxiety and depression is possible.


Men are a Vital and Necessary Part of the Community

Movember celebrates all the necessary things that men do in the community, including being fathers, friends, brothers, partners, husbands, boyfriends, uncles and colleagues. Men need to realise their importance in society, and when men and women work together, and women support the men in their life to get treatment, stay well, get on top of things, then this is an important part of overall societal well being.


Checking your health regularly, and taking action towards wellness, is an incredibly important step in actively maintaining health, and preventing any issues from arising. Celebrate Movember by taking care of your health. For more information about Movember, visit the Movember Foundation website. To discuss any health issues or concerns, ensure you visit your local GP. Ubuntu Medical Centre offers holistic, patient centred first-class care, with a focus on wellness.