Australia has the highest rate of prostate cancer in the developed world, and 1 in 2 Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. Blue September strives to raise men’s awareness and understanding of cancer, encouraging them to reduce their risk by making healthier lifestyle choices, and to seek help for any health concerns sooner rather than later.
Reducing men's cancer risk
Cancer can affect anyone, but there are steps we can all take to reduce our risk. In fact, at least one in three cancer cases is preventable, Blue September says.
To reduce your risk of cancer, the campaign encourages men to make the following healthy lifestyle changes:
1. Quit smoking. The leading cause of cancer death in Australian men is lung cancer. Giving up smoking is the best way to reduce your lung cancer risk – and the other health benefits of quitting make it a no-brainer.
2. Be sun smart. We know Aussie blokes like to get out in the sun – but make sure you’re protecting yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays. Sunscreen, hats and shirts are your friends.
3. Stay in shape . Maintaining a healthy weight is important not only for reducing your cancer risk, but also lowering your chances of many other health complications like diabetes and heart disease.
4. Keep active. The current Australian guidelines recommend getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and research suggests being active can reduce your cancer risk.
5. Eat well. A balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and limited processed, packaged and fat-saturated foods is vital for keeping your body in its best condition.
6. Drink less. Try reducing your alcohol intake and scheduling in alcohol-free days each week. If you can give up drinking (or take a break from drinking), even better.
7. Have regular check-ups. Go see your GP regularly to get everything checked out. It’s not so bad – really.
Signs and symptoms to look out for
In many cancer cases, lives can be saved through early detection. Blue September says it’s important for men to know how to recognise when something isn’t right, and to contact a health professional as soon as they notice something worrying.
Some things to keep an eye on include:
- Coughs that don’t go away or which show blood, or hoarseness that hangs around
- Lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal
- A loss in weight that can’t be explained
- Moles that have changed shape, size or colour, or bleed, or an inflamed skin sore that hasn’t healed
- Blood in a bowel motion
- Persistent changes in toilet habits
- Urinary problems or changes
Source: Blue September
These symptoms are often related to more common, less serious health problems – but it’s far better to be safe than sorry. If you notice any unusual changes to your health or these symptoms persist, take it seriously and make it a priority to see your doctor.
Find out more at blueseptember.org.au