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Movember is about men’s health

This month is Movember. An annual month-long global event devoted to putting the spotlight on men’s health and wellbeing.

The growing of a moustache, is a walking billboard, reminding men to be proactive when it comes to their health. It is a timely reminder that men, on average, die 5 years earlier than women, and often for reasons that are preventable.

Movember is traditionally targeted towards awareness of prostate and testicular cancers, mental health, and suicide prevention. But cardiovascular disease should also be included in the list. The case for action is clear.

The hard facts

The top causes of death for the working-age man in New Zealand are heart disease, suicide, and cancer.

·  Six hundred men die each year from prostate cancer

·  1 in 13 men will develop prostate cancer before the age 75

·  150 men per year are diagnosed with testicular cancer (and most of these men are aged between 15-35)

·  472 men committed suicide in 2022 (250% more than women)

·  1 in 8 men will experience a serious episode of depression in their life

· Suicide is the biggest killer of young men between 15-30

·  Every 90 minutes someone in New Zealand dies from heart disease

· From age 40 this is the biggest killer in men

So, what’s going on?

The cause of men’s health problems is complex.

On the one hand, we can blame biology, men are more susceptible to certain diseases (including heart disease) and on the other hand, male gender norms must take a degree of responsibility.

‘’It’ll be all right” is not the best advice to follow.

Men are encouraged to view themselves as strong and invulnerable. The protector. The superhero. The leader. Men want to see themselves as tough and going to the doctor can be viewed as a weakness, a vulnerability – and talking about sensitive or embarrassing problems exacerbates this further.

Even when a man goes to the doctor, they are more likely to underplay their symptoms or simply withhold information. This means that very treatable diseases are left to develop into life-threatening conditions.

When we layer in lack of exercise, poor diets, and alcohol intake the problem begins to take shape.

How can we take action?

1. Top ten quick tips for a healthier, longer life:

·  Eat healthier

·  Drink less alcohol

·  Stop smoking

·  Move more

·  Manage stress

·  Check your mood

·  Avoid weight gain

· Sleep well

· Get screened – cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, PSA

·  Spend time with people who make you feel good

2.  Get tested. Early diagnosis is key to the successful treatment of many diseases. This is particularly so, in the case of prostate cancer. There is a 98% survival rate beyond 5 years if prostate cancer is detected early. A simple blood test – Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) – should be on every man’s checklist on reaching 50 (or earlier if there is a history of prostate cancer in the family).

3. Talk more. Give support and have open conversations about health issues. This is of particular importance for men struggling with mental health issues. You can reach out to friends using ALEC , to help guide your conversation.

A – ASK: Start the chat by finding out how they are feeling.

L – LISTEN: Give your friend your full attention.

E – ENCOURAGE ACTION: This can be as simple as suggesting he keeps talking or goes to the doctor, or joins you for a walk, or run.

C – CHECK IN: Stay connected and be available for your friend. Show you care.

4.  Get support. Reach out to your friends, family, or health care providers. There is no stigma attached to asking for help and talking to others can help to foster empathy and support.

5.   Grow a moustache! Movember is more than facial hair. It actively promotes and raises awareness of men’s health problems and provides the trigger for people to talk about it.

In 2014, it was postulated that each new moustache and beard started thirty-six conversations, 11 Facebook updates, sixteen emails, seven phone calls and ten tweets. Add in Instagram, Tik Tok, messaging and those numbers will increase 10-fold.

Get involved at Harbour Grounds 

We’re hosting a Building with Burgers and Beers event on 23 November, from 5pm-8pm here at Harbour Grounds. Tickets cost $20 and all proceeds go to the Movember Foundation.

Tickets will go fast – get yours here.


Moustache with glasses
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