Support Men’s Health this Movember
Men generally tend to prefer to keep quiet about their struggles, especially when it comes to health concerns. They often prefer not to talk about issues that are having an impact on their daily lives, especially mental health struggles or diseases that cause them pain. A Movember study has shown us that 58% of men believe that society expects them to be strong and not show emotions and weakness in front of others.
This month, we’re striving to change that.
At Padbury Pharmacy, we believe men shouldn’t shy away from these topics. Although at times it can be difficult to open up, it is incredibly important for us to talk about it so men can feel seen, heard, and appreciated. This Movember we are working to break the stigma of men's health and bring awareness to some key cause areas including mental health, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer.
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Mental health statistics show us that:
35% of men believe they’ve had a diagnosable mental health condition in their lifetime
40% of men have never spoken about their mental health struggles
29% of those who haven’t spoken about their mental health
20% say there's a negative stigma relating to men speaking out about their mental health.
Most symptoms of mental health issues are universal, the symptoms that affect men more than women include anger and irritability, working obsessively, reckless behaviour, sleep problems and substance abuse. To combat mental health issues, it is important to stay social. Spend time with good mates, and get outdoors to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Also, try and stay active and reach out to someone you trust. You might feel alone with your mental health struggles, but you have a support system of people who love and care about you. At Padbury Pharmacy we pride ourselves on our supportive community and hope to be open door to anyone struggling.
If you have persistent symptoms, seek help from a medical professional. Your pharmacist or GP is a great place to start and will offer confidential support and referrals.
Testicular cancer occurs when abnormal cells reproduce in the testicular glands. The cancer is usually just in one testicle but can sometimes appear in both. It can also spread to other parts of the body, particularly lymph nodes and the stomach. Fortunately, testicular cancer is rare in Australia, making up roughly 1 in 100 cancers in men.
There are two types of testicular cancers: seminoma and non-seminoma. Seminoma is the most common type, while non-seminoma includes choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma and yolk sac tumours.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in one or both of your testicles. Other symptoms may include: a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a change of size and shape of the testicle, a feeling like your testicles are uneven and aches and pains in the scrotum, testicles, stomach or back. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor who will examine your testicles. If they find a lump, they may send you for an ultrasound, blood test, CT test or MRI scan.
The good news is that testicular cancer is often curable when found early, so examine your testicles regularly to make sure there are no lumps or swelling. Check yourself after a warm bath or shower (they’ve got to be steamy for this) and examine each testicle by rolling it gently between your fingers and thumb.
Anyone affected with testicular cancer will have to have it surgically removed. A lab then examines the tumour to determine what type of testicular cancer it is. After the surgery, there may not be any further treatment apart from close monitoring. For some, they may need to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
If you have to be treated for testicular cancer, it is normal to be afraid that cancer will return. If you are struggling, it is important to be open and reach out for help. Seek help from those around you, your pharmacist, doctor, a therapist or other men that have been through it as well.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells reproduce in a man's prostate gland (a gland that produces seminal fluid). It is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia. 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer before they’re 85. Early (localised) prostate cancer is cancerous cells that have grown in the prostate but appear to be nowhere else in the body. The two stages of advanced prostate cancer are:
- Locally advanced prostate cancer where cancer has spread outside of the prostate to nearby parts of the body
- Metastatic prostate cancer where has spread to distant parts of the body.
Early prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms, but advanced prostate cancer does. These include:
- Frequent urination
- Pain while urinating
- Blood in the urine or semen
- A weak stream
It’s important to get regular checks for prostate cancer, but you’re at a higher risk of prostate cancer if you’re over the age of 50, have a family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer and have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 50.
After finding out you have prostate cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, or anxious, which is completely normal. Talk to your local pharmacist or doctor about treatment options and reach out to your loved ones if you’re having a hard time dealing with it. The people around you love and care about you and would hate it if you kept this struggle to yourself.
Have a convo, save a bro
Men’s health, both physical and mental is rarely discussed, but that should change. At Padbury Pharmacy we hope to be a conduit for support for all members of our community, offering a place to meet, speak, and support each other. Having a conversation with a mate might help save their life. Although it may be daunting to start the conversation, you never know the impact it could have.
The hardest part can be getting the conversation started. Try asking how they are, how they’re feeling and what’s been happening lately. Using open-ended questions can work to stimulate meaningful conversations that go beyond just work, sports, or the latest tv show.
Really listening is a vital part of offering support to a friend. Create a safe space to facilitate open and honest conversations, and listen to what they have to say. Listening is more than just hearing someone so focus on their body language and speech, give your full attention, and take what’s being said seriously.
One of the hardest parts of supporting a friend through a tough time is knowing what to say. Try to encourage them to focus on the small things that could help improve how they feel, and let them know they don’t have to go through it alone. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t have all of the answers, and remember to discuss options for professional help and the wider network of support.
Checking in is often missed when having these important conversations so don’t forget to follow up with your friends. A follow-up can build trust in your relationship and show that you are genuinely in their corner. Some friends may be cautious to open up or welcome support, to remember to be patient, supportive and remain available for the men in your life.
This Movember Padbury Pharmacy is committed to building connections within our community and fostering an environment that nurtures honest conversations to support the men struggling in our lives. Whether it’s mental health, struggles with disease, or any other health concerns impacting their life, our door is always open for a chat. Let’s make moves this Movember to break the stigma around discussing men’s health.