There’s nothing like a personal experience to bring a cause close to your heart. In my case, it was family history with prostate cancer that focused my attention on men’s health and the importance for men to access comprehensive health services.
My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 42. 50 years ago, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer was a brutal process, to say the least. My family is all too aware of the journey and knows that family history is a clear marker for prostate cancer.
Did you know that men with a first-degree male relative with prostate cancer are more likely to develop it themselves than men with no family history? The more male relatives develop prostate cancer, the higher the risk for other family members. And risks are higher for men whose male relatives were young when diagnosed.
Age is also an indicator. The risk of developing prostate cancer by age 75 is 1 in 7 men. By age 85, the risk factor goes up to 1 in 6 men. And the most common age for diagnosis is between 65 and 69 years.
Armed with this knowledge, the men in my family have always maintained regular health checks, including the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Since his forties, my Father monitored himself regularly and carefully for signs of prostate cancer. He did everything the doctors told him to do. Then, one day in his 70th year, he just didn’t feel right. The GP had no particular concerns, but Father was uneasy and pushed for extra scans.
It turned out his prostate cancer was lurking behind the prostate in a location that would never have been detected by standard processes available in the public health system.
Although prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, and around 16,000 Australian men are diagnosed with it every year, procedures for detection and treatment are not always free.
This is one of the reasons the mission of the Movember Foundation to raise awareness around men’s health resonates deeply with me. Many men’s health realities are issues we simply don’t hear enough about. For example, research by the Department of Health and Welfare in 2017-2018 showed that:
- 3 in 4 Australian men are overweight or obese.
- More than half of Australian men exceed the single occasion risk drinking guideline.
- 3 in 5 Australian men have a waist circumference linked to increased or substantially increased metabolic risk.
- An estimated 19,401 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2020.
Some of these facts come down to lifestyle choices and are entirely manageable or preventable. As for prostate cancer: doctors aren’t sure exactly why prostate cancer takes hold in some men and not others. Whatever triggers it to strike, all men need to understand the risk factors and have access to comprehensive health services for fast, proper diagnosis and treatment.
This Movember I’m growing a moustache to raise awareness for men’s health. Genetics means I’m in a higher risk category for prostate cancer. Genetics also mean I may not grow a good mo. But this mo isn’t about looking good. It’s about raising awareness of men’s health and making an uncomfortable conversation more comfortable. What matters to me is helping at least one other man, hopefully more, live a longer, healthier life.
So, join me in growing your own Crumb Catcher, Bro-merang, ‘Tache, Caterpillar or Lip Locks this Movember. We have our Infoblox company team – InMoBlox – Team ID 2378615. Consider a donation – Link – https://au.movember.com/team/2378615
Let’s make some goodness happen in 2020 by starting a conversation, no matter how uncomfortable, around men’s health.