Blue September – taking care of men’s health

During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Rural Doctors Foundation is encouraging Queenslanders to create awareness of  prostate cancer.

Blue September – a Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia campaign – is supported by communities across the nation in a bid to shine a light on the disease.

To help raise awareness, Rural Doctors Foundation interviewed Stanthorpe Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Dan Halliday, who is Chair of the Foundation.

Why is Blue September so important for men’s health?

Blue September highlights the gap in men’s health with a focus on prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia with 20,000 diagnoses and over 3,000 related deaths each year (Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia).

What is the importance of raising awareness about cancers affecting men?

By raising awareness of cancers affecting men, we can open the conversation with those special men in our lives.  And through education, we can encourage men to access and seek help. Even if it’s just a reassuring chat with their Specialist General Practitioner – it may be the start of a continuing discussion needed to open a pathway to ongoing health.

How can people support the health of the men in their life during Blue September, and beyond? 

Don’t be afraid to have the discussion about issues in men’s health, in particular cancers affecting men. Show support, kindness and understanding should the man in your life be unsure of how to access or seek out help. There is still a perceived stigma around men seeking healthcare and the male psyche of being seen as weak when seeking help. Be patient.

How can men reduce their risk of developing cancer? 

Talk to loved ones and friends seeking their support. Book that first appointment with a Specialist General Practitioner (GP) Take your time, make a long appointment to start with. Go prepared – write down what you might want to discuss or focus on. Embrace openness and honesty. Work with your GP through the details. Ask questions – doctors are there to support  you. Act on plans made. Follow up with a second up appointment with your GP as needed.

If you are ever in doubt, reach out to organisations such as Rural Doctors Foundation.  You will find the conversation easier than you think.