Movember 2020 has the potential to be huge. This year, more than ever, there is a need to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide. Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, motivating men to take action for their health, and employers have an important role to play.
We are only now beginning to see how Covid-19 has impacted people in terms of not getting early diagnosis and treatment for symptoms of other illnesses such as cancer. The lockdown has also had a significant effect on mental health. Men often try to battle through things on their own. With so many of us currently working from home, employers need to be more vigilant than ever in keeping an eye on employees’ health and wellbeing. Implementing a regular health screening programme, and communicating any health and wellbeing benefits available, make it harder for someone to fall between the gaps. We all need someone there to look out for us at some point in our lives, and that’s particularly the case now.
While Movember takes a light-hearted route regarding men’s health, the message behind it is serious. Men die on average six years earlier than women, for largely preventable reasons, Movember funds projects to address this crisis.
Screening and prevention
Many of the issues affecting men’s health are preventable and/or treatable. Prostate cancer often has no symptoms at all in its early and most treatable stages. A health screening programme, which includes a PSA test for men in higher risk age groups, can be a good way to catch prostate cancer early. Testicular cancer, however, is most often detected through self-examination. This is where open discussions about testicular cancer are vital in raising awareness.
Employers need to encourage men in the workforce to care for their mental and physical health. Talking about men’s health will promote action and can be a valuable way to support employees. National awareness campaigns, like Movember, are a great opportunity for employers to introduce topics of conversation and to raise awareness. They are also a way for employees to show that men’s health issues matter to them and to create a feeling of community and support in the workplace.
Particularly this year, communicating health and wellbeing benefits for a workforce is more challenging, but Movember provides the perfect opportunity to encourage men to look after themselves and remind them of any benefits that are available to support them.
Statistics on some of the key areas affecting men’s health:
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK
- More than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day
- Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 11,500 men every year
- 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
- Around 400,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer
- 2292 New cases of testicular cancer, 2015-2017, UK
- 64 Deaths from testicular cancer, 2015-2017, UK
- 91% Survive testicular cancer for 10 or more years, 2013-2017, England and Wales
- Preventable cases of testicular cancer are not known as it is not clearly linked to any preventable risk factors
- Men accounted for about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019, 4,303 compared with 1,388 women
- The England and Wales male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 is the highest since 2000
- Males aged 45 to 49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (25.5 deaths per 100,000 males)
Links for information and advice:
Figures and information regarding prostate cancer from: www.prostatecanceruk.org
Figures and information regarding testicular cancer from: www.cancerresearchuk.org
For advice and support with mental health and suicide visit www.samaritans.org
Suicide figures from Office For National Statistics: www.ons.gov.uk