Let’s face it, men are known to be more indifferent towards their health, especially when compared to the efforts of women, who proactively and publicly address their health issues in a way not traditionally seen with men. As a result, today the levels of awareness, understanding and funding for support of men's health issues, like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer.
The reasons for the poor state of men’s health in South Africa and around the world are numerous and complex and this is primarily due to a lack of awareness of the health issues men face. This can largely be attributed to the reluctance in men openly discussing the subject due to longstanding traditions, coupled with an ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude. Men are less likely to schedule a doctors’ appointment when they feel ill or go for a check up, therefore reducing the chance of early detection and effective treatment of common diseases.
Studies show that many men don’t get regular health checks for the following reasons:
- Fear it will lead to a hospital visit
- Embarrassed to discuss their health issues
- Find it too hard to see a doctor because they can’t fit it into their schedule
- Can’t be bothered making an appointment
Statistics show that, on average, men die at a younger age than women. That said, despite trailing the women’s health movement, things are beginning to change, but much more progress needs to be made to close the gap between the state of men and women’s health. Established taboos and barriers relating to men’s health are gradually being broken down.
Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health more openly.
Movember's objective is to raise awareness of men's health issues, specifically cancers affecting men. We want everyone to know that most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages - including prostate and testicular cancer. Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, as this will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer.
- South African men have a shorter life expectancy than South African women
- The rate of cancer diagnoses in men is considerably higher than the rate in women – 1 in 6 for men, compared to 1 in 8 for women
- Men are 40% more likely to die of cancer than women
- Experts estimate that up to 40% of cancers can be prevented
- The most common cancer in South Africa for men is prostate cancer
- More than 4,000 case of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year and over 2,500 men will die
- Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer in the world, with over 44,000 South Africans dying from tobacco-related diseases each year
- Suicide is the third greatest cause of unnatural death in South Africa
- Obese men are 5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and 3 times more likely to develop cancer of the colon
It’s not all bad news! Maintaining a good diet, smart lifestyle choices and getting regular health check-ups and screening tests can dramatically influence your health. Regardless of age, stay on top of your game by doing the following:
|KNOW YOUR BODY
Look after yourself, know what symptoms to look out for and know your risks. Record every sign and symptom you experience and discuss this with your doctor.
KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
Family history is one of the most powerful tools to understanding your health. Family history affects your level of risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, among other illnesses. It all starts with a conversation; talk to your family and take note of illnesses that a direct relative has experienced.
If you do smoke, stop! Studies show that smokers in their 30s and 40s are 5 times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers.
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Stay on the move throughout the day; long periods of sitting increase your risk of disease. Every little bit counts – take the stairs instead of the lift or take a walk during your lunch break.
STAY AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off from physical activity. Obesity and being overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain cancers.
|EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Fill up with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and choose healthy proteins like lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and nuts. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars. Moderation is key, as is eating a wide range of food to ensure you get a variety of nutrients. The best source of vitamins is from food.
DRINK ALCOHOL ONLY IN MODERATION
Alcohol can be part of a healthy, balanced diet, but only if consumed in moderation.
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress, particularly long-term stress, can be a factor in the onset or worsening of ill health. Managing your stress is essential to your health and well-being. Take 'time out' each day and go for a walk or do something you find relaxing.
The quality of your sleep can dictate how much you eat, how fast your metabolism runs, how fat or thin you are, how well you can fight off infections, and how well you can cope with stress. Keep a regular pattern of sleep, going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time is key.
Download the Men's Health Poster
here, or visit the Merchandise section
to order a free men's health pack.