Time to talk about men's health

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With men being diagnosed with cancer at a higher rate than women, Men’s Health Week provides a chance for men to talk about their health, and to identify ways to reduce their cancer risk.

It is often spoken of that men are less likely to seek help and talk to someone when it comes to their health and wellbeing. When it comes to cancer, this relates to a lower likelihood to get regular check-ups or undertake cancer screening – two things that could potentially be lifesaving.

“Unfortunately, we know that around one in two Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and we also know that around one-third of these cancers are preventable” says Cancer Council ACT Cancer Support Coordinator, Alex Dreyer.

Melanoma, Bowel and Lung cancer are the three most common cancers in Australia, and it is Aussie men who are considerably more likely to be diagnosed, and die, from them.

With many risk factors for cancer coming down to healthy lifestyle behaviours, how can men flip the script and make small changes in their daily habits for better health and wellbeing?

  • Schedule in regular screenings

Skin checks, bowel screening and seeing your GP when you notice changes to your body can help with early detection of cancer, and often more effective treatments.

“Guys rarely talk about their bodies to each other, but getting regular check-ups might just save a mate,” said Dreyer. “Getting your cricket team to have skin checks before or after the season, or the guys from your worksite to get a check-up could catch a cancer early.”

  • Eat a balanced diet and avoid excess alcohol

Men are more likely to engage in risky behaviour around alcohol, and generally have a lower intake of fruit and vegetables, all of which can increase risk of a number of cancers.

“There is generally a lot of social pressure on guys to drink alcohol, so think about when you might encounter this and strategies or people who can support you in drinking less or not at all. Taking a stand for your health may even give someone else the courage to do the same.”

Adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your day and making time for just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can also benefit your overall health and wellbeing.

  • Protect yourself in the workplace

Men have higher exposure to carcinogens in the workplace, such as UV radiation and industrial chemicals, dusts, metals and combustion products.

Wearing the right protective gear goes a long way to ensuring safe work practices that can eliminate most instances of exposure, therefore reducing cancer risk.

To speak to someone about your cancer risk Cancer Council ACT provide a free information and support line, call to speak to our friendly, qualified nurses on 13 11 20. 

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