I should have updated this photo because at the time of writing, the beard has gone and I’m growing a moustache (like some men you may know) for the men’s health campaign Movember. I’m doing it in memory of my uncle who died 10 years ago from prostate cancer and because there are way too many others checking out early: heart attacks, liver disease, suicide, strokes… Men (me included!) don’t look after themselves, and we need to change.
The problem starts in primary care. Men don’t have the same relationship with their GP practice that women do, and so they fail to get those lumps checked and drown their sorrows in a pub, rather than pour them out to the doctor. Innovation is the key here. Pilot schemes which have taken routine health tests out to pubs and rugby matches have worked well. And as Ian Peate reports, non-traditional approaches to mental health with men prompt them to open up in a way they don’t in formal settings.
It’s important too that gender-specific health never becomes a zero-sum game. Good men’s health groups have listened to, and learned from, women’s– particularly around breast cancer. Campaign successes and clinical breakthroughs should enrich everyone, not create winners and losers for funding and influence.
Meanwhile check out my progress here https://uk.movember.com/mospace. It ain’t pretty, but it might save a man’s life.