Much more than the snor, Movember can save your life
Men need to make ‘man time’ to stay connected and talk about their health, says Movember campaign
Making “man time” and engaging in frank conversations about male health issues could be a life-saving exercise.
On International Men’s Day – November 19 – and in the month of Movember, physical and mental health issues affecting men, such as prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention, will take centre stage globally.
The day, which has been set aside to celebrate men and also highlight male health concerns, came into being in 1999.
In SA the focus will be on cancers affecting men. According to the 2014 National Cancer Registry, the lifetime risk for prostate cancer in a South African man is one in 19.
Testicular cancer is the most common in young men aged 15-39. And poor mental health leads to about 14 SA men taking their own lives every day.
“Across the world men die an average six years younger than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. It doesn’t have to be that way. We have to make a stand to stop men dying too young,” said Garron Gsell, head of the Men’s Foundation, which runs the Movember campaign in SA.
Gsell said friends are important and spending time with them is good for you. “Have open conversations about your health. 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.”
Former television personality Jo-Ann Strauss, now a blogger and businesswoman, said women have an important role to play in encouraging men to be transparent about their health. Her father, Johan, is in remission from prostate cancer.
“Women need to talk to the men in their life and encourage them to go for regular health checks. Causes such as Movember are pivotal in raising awareness, and ultimately, helping men live healthier, happier and longer lives,” said Strauss.
Funds raised during the Movember campaign go to awareness, education, research and survivor programmes linked to men’s health in SA. In eight years over R25m has been raised towards such programmes.
HANDY TIPS FOR MEN At 40, start talking to your doctor about prostrate cancer. If there is a history of this type of cancer in the family, you should be having this conversation earlier.
Know your risk.
Move more and get regular checks.
If something doesn’t feel right, see a doctor.