Men urged to visit doctor more regularly

‘Big boys don’t cry’ culure a big problem for male health

Early detection is key to treating cancer. Photograph: Thinkstock

Early detection is key to treating cancer. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

The biggest single mistake men make about their health is not going to the doctor in time to get whatever is bothering them checked out, according to a specialist in the field.

The key to tackling cancer and many other diseases, is early detection, says Finian Murray, Development Officer with the men’s health forum, an independent All-Ireland body tasked with improving men’s health. “The key to better outcomes and treatment is early detection.”

Murray also urges men to take up whatever health checks and screening is offered. He points out that bowel screening for example, is offered free to people over 60, but a lot less men than women avail of it. Again, he says, the key is early detection for better outcomes.

Murray, who will be giving a talk in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone on Wednesday, September 24that 7 pm says the issue of suicide is still huge among men, especially younger men. Research has shown that men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women.

His organisation is currently putting in place training programmes to help tackle the issue. Aimed at social workers, community workers, GPS and others whose work brings them into contact with men, it is aimed at tuning into men’s needs, getting men to take more care of their health and providing a more male gender sensitive health service.

Murray says one of the big problems men have is that they are brought up in a “big boys don’t cry “ culture, and tend to “self-medicate” through alcohol or drugs rather than talk about issues when things go wrong. The courses are aimed at tackling such issues and trying to prevent suicides by recognising issues at an early stage.

So what simple steps can men take to improve their health?

Murray lists off the following tips:

1) Maintain a healthy weight: your waist should measure no more than 37 inches (measuring across your belly button).

2) Eat your five a day of fruit and vegetables

3) Watch your portion sizes - the amount of food we put on our plates has gone up and up over the last 30 years.

4) Take 30 minutes a day of moderate to intense exercise

5) If something is bothering you, talk to somebody.

• Finian Murray will be giving a talk on men’s health in the Sheraton Hotel at 7 pm next Wednesday, September 23d at 7 pm. The talk is free and you can drop along on the night or register to go by emailing: healthy.town@ogilvy.com or phone: 01-6690165.