Every few months yet another article on the great big PSA testing controversy appears in the national media. Should men be tested? Do more men die with, not from, prostate cancer? Does the test do more harm than good? The debate goes on and on.
But what about Australian men - how are they supposed to decide what to do when the various medical colleges have radically different points of view? What about their GPs - what advice are they supposed to give to patients who ask about PSA testing?
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UPDATE: Dr Anthony Lowe, CEO of Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia comments “Prostate cancer is a serious health issue in Australia – 3,300 men die from prostate cancer each year – more than the number of women who die from breast cancer, which is why it is so important for men to be aware of their prostate health. Contrary to Lauren Tracey’s statements in this article, PCFA does not advocate for population-based screening for prostate cancer. We support the position of Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council and Cancer Council Australia which encourages men to talk to their doctor so that they can make an informed decision about prostate cancer testing. We recommend that all men over age 50, or over age 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, talk to their doctor about testing as part of their annual health check. We advocate that men should make an informed decision based on the latest available evidence about the benefits and potential harms of testing and treatment.”
Movember. It’s that time of year where the lads of Australia cast that razor blade aside for 30 days and embrace that Tom Selleck look, which for those who are too young to have lived through, is an era they can only dream about for the other 11 months of the year.
For the ladies, it’s a time when we can get behind this charity event for men. With so many events directed at raising support and money for breast cancer that enjoy support from our colleagues, sporting teams and family members, it seems only right that this is the month that we all become champions for men’s health.
And on the surface, the Movember foundation supports worthy causes. Beyond Blue does great work with mental health issues, as does the Prostate Foundation of Australia. But I don’t entirely support Movember. To clarify, I specifically don’t support the Prostate Foundation of Australia’s stance on population-based screening of all men for this disease. And I am not alone.
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Well, enough people have called me an arsehole on this website, so bugger it. Let’s talk about that part of my anatomy.
Specifically, let’s talk about the colonoscopy I had a couple of years ago. And let’s do so in the spirit of Movember, a charity which raises money for two major men’s health issues – depression and prostate cancer.
Movember ended yesterday. Hopefully that means there’ll be a few less Boonies and Mervs prowling the streets. Last year, Movember raised $70 million globally. This year it’ll be $93 million. Much of that money goes to medical research. Some also goes towards awareness programs. That’s what this article, with it’s admittedly vulgar headline, is all about.
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Asking people to do anything is tough. Asking them to give you money is even harder. Yet that’s what charity and social cause organisations have to do every day. Nearly all of their advertising focuses on one of two ways to unlock peoples’ wallets to raise money.
1) A rational message: Providing statistics that show how important the charity is, and how large the task at hand is. For example, how many lives are at risk, how many people have died, how many degrees the earth has warmed up and so on.
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As the whiskers of tens of thousands of Aussie blokes wash down the drains of homes today, thousands of nubile young women are rejoicing.
It is the end of “Movember”, the month formerly known as November which raises money for prostate cancer research and initiatives to combat male depression.
While the charity is one of the most brilliant health campaigns ever enacted, women around Australia are ecstatic we no longer have to give Aussie men some lip about their top lip.
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