Wednesday 31 October 2018

The BCH Basstaches are raising money for men’s health as part of Movember. Pictured (L-R) are: Chris Campbell, Greg Tingate, Douwe Ton, Glen Ton and Blake Carew.





Bass Coast Health (BCH) is joining the ranks of supporters raising money for men’s health by participating in Movember this month.

The ‘Basstaches’, a team of BCH male staff, are competing to have the bragging rights for the best moustache by the end of the month and are seeking donations for their team.

Team Captain Chris Campbell, BCH Café 1910 Supervisor, reckons he has it in the bag, “I think I’ve got it all sown up”.

While his team mates may disagree with his early confidence, one thing they do all agree on is the importance of raising awareness about men’s health, and the team is urging all men to start having conversations about their health and wellbeing – without fear of judgement.

Associate Professor Bruce Waxman OAM, Chief Medical Officer at BCH, says that all men need to talk about their health with each other and their partners.

“The biggest problem with men is that they don’t talk about it”, says A/Prof Waxman. “Indeed, few men even have a GP, and if they do, it’s often a different GP from that of their partner”.

A/Prof Waxman, a General and Colorectal Surgeon for over 30 years, says that conversations about men’s health need to be normalised so that men feel more comfortable sharing their experiences and seeking help. “Whereas breast self-examination is something that is feely discussed and accepted, self-examination of one’s scrotum is frowned upon. This needs to change”, he says. 

In Australia, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men. Men should feel their testicles every month or so to be familiar with them so they can detect changes, and head to their GP if something doesn’t feel right.

Adding to this reluctance to discuss male-related health issues, A/Prof Waxman says that men are particularly fearful of the digital rectal examination of their prostate that is needed to diagnose and treat prostate cancer early. 

But catching prostate cancer is early is key - the difference between early detection and late detection can be life and death. If detected early, there is a 98% chance of survival beyond 5 years. Compared to a 25% chance of surviving beyond 5 years with late detection. Men over 50 need to have a conversation with their GP about having a routine blood test called a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, which is the primary method of detecting prostate cancer. It’s also worth noting that not everyone experiences symptoms, however men noticing changes in urinary or sexual function should see their GP.

A/Prof Waxman says that although men’s health focuses on things that are unique to men, it’s worth remembering that broader health issues are even more important. “Leading a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, looking after your mental wellbeing and ensuring good sleep hygiene – these things are so fundamentally important for men”, he said.


To make a donation to the ‘Basstaches’, go to au.movember.com/search/?q=basstaches

For more information about men’s health, go to betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/mens-health