In November’s blog, we will be looking into the Movember global movement in support of men’s health during men’s health awareness month.
Innovative Trials are passionate about ensuring our diverse population is adequately represented within medical research. Whether it is wanting to see more people from underrepresented communities choosing science as a career and pushing for greater patient diversity in clinical trials or focusing on what we are doing internally to celebrate and promote equality and diversity.
Throughout 2021, we have made a pledge to share our education and experiences with our clients and colleagues, to ensure inclusivity across the board. Each month we will be releasing communications in line with national and international awareness campaigns.
You may be wondering why in November you are surrounded by more men with moustaches. As November goes by, the longer, the funnier, the more complex moustaches will look like. Regardless of how moustaches may look, they all serve the same purpose to raise awareness of men’s health. Very often, November is referred to as Movember, where the “M” refers to the initial letter of the word “moustache”.
“Movember, the month formerly known as November, is when brave and selfless men around the world grow a moustache, and women step up to support them, all to raise awareness and funds for men’s health – specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention” (Prostate UK, 2021).
According to recent data, on average men die around 6 years earlier than women with the top 3 reasons being:
The 3 above are treatable and preventable most of the time if preventive actions are taken (Abicare, 2020).
Men’s Mental Health
Around the world, 6 out of 10 suicides are by men, and on average 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day. Moreover, male suicide rate is alarmingly high, in fact 75% suicides in the UK are by men (Movember, n.d.).
Sometimes it is difficult to spot a friend, a relative or anyone you know who’s struggling. However there are useful tips than can help:
Watch out if that person is a bit on the edge
Maybe you have a group chat which has gone quiet
Look for any change in habits (i.e a sporty person not training anymore)
Signs can be of various natures and expressed in many different ways, so it is difficult if not impossible to create an exhaustive list of signs that may indicate someone is struggling with their mental health. However, there are useful approaches and suggestions which can be used like the ALEC system. ALEC is the acronym of 4 effective actions which may help someone who is struggling.
A – ASK – Start by mentioning anything different you’ve noticed. Maybe he’s spending more time at the bar, coming into work late, or missing social events. Trust your instinct. Remember, we often say “I’m fine” when we’re not. So if you think something’s wrong, don’t be afraid to ask twice.
L – LISTEN – Try to give him your full attention, without interruptions. Don’t feel you have to diagnose problems, offer solutions or give advice. Just let him know you’re all ears, judgement-free.
E – ENCOURAGE ACTION – Help him to focus on simple things that might improve his well being: Is he getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating properly? Maybe there’s something that’s helped before?Suggest he tells other people he trusts how he’s feeling and if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest he sees his doctor.
C – CHECK-IN – Suggest you catch up soon – in person if you can. If you can’t manage a meet-up, make time for a call, or drop him a message. This will show you care plus, you’ll get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better.
If you’re worried that somebody’s life is in immediate danger, go directly to emergency services. (Movember, n.d.)
“Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate. The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in males that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer” (Mayo Clinic, 2021).
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK. Globally, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, but that doesn’t mean it’s a disease that only affects older men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Men who are black, and men who have a family history, are 2.5x more likely to get prostate cancer.
If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about PSA testing. If you’re black or if you have a brother or father with a history of prostate cancer, you need to start that conversation at 45 (Movember, n.d.).
There are 3 simple steps that can be taken to prevent or early detect prostate cancer:
Go to the doctor
Ask about PSA testing – a simple blood test to determine the measurement of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) concentration in the blood
Watch out for any signs or symptoms (Movember, n.d.)
Testicular cancer is one of the less common cancers, and tends to mostly affect men between 15 and 49 years of age (NHS, 2019). However, testicular cancer is the #1 cancer among young guys and yet 62% of those who are most at risk don’t know how to check themselves or how to look for symptoms (Movember, n.d.).
“A GP will usually need to examine your testicles. They may hold a small light or torch against your scrotum to see whether light passes through it. Testicular lumps tend to be solid, which means light is unable to pass through them. A collection of fluid in the scrotum will allow light to pass through it” (NHS, 2019). When caught early, testicular cancer is highly treatable and highly curable with almost all men (99%) surviving for a year or more after being diagnosed, and 98% surviving for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Innovative Trials and Men’s Health
Innovative Trials has a wealth of experience in different men’s health areas such as prostate cancer. Apart from having offered training services to our sponsors and clients in the past, Innovative Trials is currently working on 3 prostate cancer projects supporting our clients in site optimisation, community engagement and clinical trials materials development. Some interim data shows promising results and we should be able to disclose a full case study report in the upcoming months.
Abicare. (2020, November 1). Movember – Men’s Health Awareness Month 2020. Abicare. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.abicare.co.uk/movember-mens-health-awareness-month/
Mayo Clinic. (2021, June 4). Prostate cancer. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087#:~:text=Prostate%20cancer%20is%20cancer%20that,most%20common%20types%20of%20cancer.
Movember. (n.d.). Mental Health. Movember. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://uk.movember.com/about/mental-health
Movember. (n.d.). PROSTATE CANCER. Movember. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/prostate-cancer
Movember. (n.d.). Spot a Bro who is feeling low. Movember. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/spot-the-signs
Movember. (n.d.). Testicles. Movember. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/testicular-cancer
NHS. (2019, June 14). Testicular cancer. NHS. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicular-cancer/
Prostate UK. (2021, October 20). Movember. Prostate Cancer UK. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://prostatecanceruk.org/about-us/movember/