Men's Health Week
Published at: 14 Jun 2019
There are several areas of health care under the microscope during Men’s Health Week and Goulburn Valley Health nurses were on hand to discuss two cancers that affect men last week.
Goulburn Valley Health prostate cancer nurse Sonia Strachan dispelled some of the misconceptions about prostate cancer at the Men’s Health Week breakfast.
“You need to know the right facts,” she said to the Lendlease tradesman in attendance.
While the cancer is most common among men over the age of 50, she said young men could also be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Another misconception Ms Strachan said she often heard was the idea people could not die from prostate cancer.
“Nine people alone will die of prostate cancer today,” she said.
But if detected early, Ms Strachan said there was a good chance of survival.
One of the most common myths regarded the test required to detect prostate cancer, Ms Strachan said.
While many believed the test involved a rectal examination, Ms Strachan said the most common test was a simple blood test.
She explained to the tradesmen that the statistics were not simply facts and figures but rather real men she supported on a daily basis.
Risk factors for prostate cancer included age, family history and diet and lifestyle choices.
She encouraged the men to maintain a good relationship with their GP.
“In the early stages of prostate cancer there are no symptoms,” she said.
“If you take anything away from this it’s to go to your GP and get a men’s health check.”
For more information on prostate cancer visit www.pcfa.org.au
While bowel cancer affects both men and women, GV Health bowel cancer support nurse Katie Emanuelli spoke to the tradesmen about the cancer.
She explained while there was free screening available for those aged over 50 years, bowel cancer could still affect young people.
“I’m encouraging you to have a relationship with your GP and have a conversation,” she said.
Much like prostate cancer, bowel cancer can be treated well if detected early.
She told the men the signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for.
These included blood in the stool or rectal bleeding; a recent or persistent change in bowel habit especially if severe which included diarrhoea, constipation or the feeling or incomplete emptying; a change in the shape or appearance of bowel movements; abdominal pain or swelling; pain or a lump in the anus or rectum; and/or unexplained anaemia.
Ms Emanuelli said these should not be ignored if they persisted for more than two weeks.
“Don’t wait six months before you do something about it,” she said.
For more information on bowel cancer visit www.bowelcanceraustralia.org
Both Ms Emanuelli and Ms Strachan’s roles are part of a unique funding model.
The bowel cancer and prostate cancer support nurses respectively are in place due to funds raised at Shepparton’s annual Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch.
The annual event, held in August each year, shines a light on men’s health issues after it was created by the late Chris McPherson.
Ms Strachan addressed the tradesmen about the roles and said they were fortunate to have the community support their positions.
She said she began the role in 2014 and Ms Emanuelli began her role three years later in 2017.
Already the women have seen hundreds of patients each and provided consistent support to patients suffering from bowel or prostate cancers.
For more information about the Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch visit www.sheppblokeslunch.com.au
To contact either Sonia or Katie phone the Peter Copulos Cancer and Wellness Centre on (03) 5832 3777.