Time for the Mid-Western Region to Man Up

ManUp For Prostate Cancer is spending a fortnight in the Mid-Western Region, providing the men’s health information that can save lives.

Jill and Leah, who are in the region conducting the ManUp For Prostate Cancer presentations.

Jill and Leah, who are in the region conducting the ManUp For Prostate Cancer presentations.

The Queensland-based not–for-profit organisation was brought to the region at the invitation of Mudgee Health Council. Holding presentations at Wilpinjong and Ulan Surface Operations mines and Mid-Western Regional Council.

The public presentation will be held at The Stables, Market Street, Mudgee, 10.30am, Friday, March 9.

ManUp co-founder/director, Jill Costello, said they want to can give men enough information to make an informed choice on their health”.  

“Prostate cancer is now one of the leading causes of cancer related death in men. And it certainly doesn’t get the profile that other cancers get such as bowel cancer and breast cancer, nor does it get the funding,” she said.

“So while we aren’t educating men about their prostate – what happens, where it is, what happens when something goes wrong, what they should be doing – we’re leading them at risk.

“We’re not saying; ‘run out there and test, test, test, have biopsies, have your prostate out’. It’s just; here is all the information to make an informed choice in regards to this area of your health.

“Very rarely are there any symptoms in the early stages, so you don’t know you have it until there’s an issue. Secondly, it’s one of the more treatable cancers if it’s caught in the early stages - the survival rate is almost 98 per cent, but that drops to 16 per cent in the advanced stages.”

She added that it’s the 45-55 years age group which is going missing, due to the perception that “it’s an old man’s disease”.

“We say we like to see men to start [getting regular checks] from the age of 40, to set up a baseline to follow and that’s purely to monitor. But we find that the biggest age group that we’re currently not capturing are the 45-55 year old men.

“They’re the ones that we’re not getting who are dying. Because this is historically thought of as an old man’s disease and they tend to worry about it when they’re in their 60s and 70s.

“But we’re finding that the prevalence in men 45 to 55 have increased something like six-fold in the last 20 years. So we’re saying ‘start at the age of 40 – unless you have a terrible family history – set up a baseline and make sure you monitor it, if something happens make sure you take action.”

Jill said that the way forward is talking about prostate cancer, raising its profile, which may take a generational shift.

“I think that it’s a matter of discussing it, women have been very good about talking about women’s health issues,” she said.

“Particularly breast cancer, which has come to the fore, and I’ve had breast cancer so I can honestly say there’s a large amount of information and support services out there. And friends and personalities saying ‘check your breasts, it happened to me it can happen to you’.

“We don’t find a number of men going out there saying ‘I’ve had prostate cancer, it can happen to anybody’. They’re tending to talk more to each other about it, but not to the extent that women would talk about their health issues.

“Older men aren’t comfortable talking about it at all and I think it needs a shift towards younger men accepting that this is an important area of their health and it’s something they need to discuss.

“The more we talk about it and the more it comes to the fore, the more awareness we raise. If we bury it down there, it’s going to stay down there.”