Country Director, Movember
Globally, men die 4.5 years earlier than women for largely preventable reasons.
In most countries — including Ireland — men have poorer health and die before their time. Irish men are more likely than women to die from preventable and treatable diseases. Seven out of twelve top causes of male mortality could be reduced with lifestyle changes such as improving diet, regular exercise and seeking medical help sooner. However, some male health problems are more complex and require a different approach.
Three out of four suicides are men
In Ireland, three out of four suicides are men; and although the male suicide rate has been falling for several years, it is the leading cause of death in 15 to 34-year-old males.
Risk factors include acute stress, low mood, social isolation along with the belief that they shouldn’t talk openly about their feelings. This can deter them from seeking help and receiving treatment which can lead to men struggling in silence until it’s too late.
The most diagnosed cancer among younger men (under the age of 45) is testicular cancer.
Prostate and testicular cancers on the rise
Ireland has the highest rate of prostate cancer in the European Union; although, this may be partly related to high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. The most diagnosed cancer among younger men (under the age of 45) is testicular cancer.
There has been a huge increase in biomedical research investment for both cancers since Movember began in 2003. This includes funding for a team from University College Dublin, through Movember’s international GAP1 project, who went on to develop the epiCapture DNA test which measures the aggressiveness of prostate cancer without the need for biopsies. Despite these breakthroughs, there are still unanswered questions about the best way to diagnose and treat these cancers.
We can’t afford to stay silent
Male cancers and mental health issues strike at the very heart of what it is to be a man. Men worry about them but find it difficult to talk about them openly. Although progress has been made in recent years, there is still a huge stigma surrounding mental health. Many live in fear of mental health challenges being revealed, especially in the workplace. For many men, urological symptoms are still shrouded in shame and embarrassment which deter them from seeking help — even if it might be life-threatening.
No one says it’s easy for men to talk about what’s worrying them; but by challenging those outdated attitudes and behaviours, we can make it okay for men to seek help when they need it.