Start an Important Conversation this Movember
This month is Movember - a time of year when people from many countries around the world, grow or wear fake moustaches (or Mo’s) all in the name of raising awareness for men’s health.
The campaign’s core premise is simple: men are at a higher risk of dying from certain conditions, because people feel uncomfortable talking about men’s health – especially men themselves. To change this, Movember aims to raise awareness and funds for men’s health and help start the important conversations about men’s health matters, including prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is something we urgently need to talk about and, together with the prostate cancer community, begin to address more broadly across the region.
With over 190,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and incidence rates set to double by 2030 in Asia, prostate cancer is becoming a major health issue. To compound this concern, men in Asia tend to be diagnosed in later stages than in other parts of the world, leading to a poorer prognosis, and higher incidence to mortality ratio. With such concerning figures, it is clear that we as a community need to make prostate cancer a priority.
At Janssen, we have been participating in Movember for six consecutive years. Globally, we are also committed to developing and providing transformational treatments for prostate cancer. As part of our commitment, we aim to restore hope and quality of life for men living with this devastating disease, by transforming care across the disease continuum and helping them and their families get the support they need.
This includes lending our voice to support others: as both a man and head of Medical Affairs in Asia Pacific at Janssen, I have seen the difference speaking out in support of those affected by prostate cancer can make. It can help overcome the stigma sometimes associated with the disease and ultimately encourage others to take that next step and start an important conversation.
However, these conversations are just the beginning. Many men once diagnosed feel that they are left alone to deal with the impact of prostate cancer and a recent report on men’s health in Asia highlighted the need for national policies and increased support for those affected by the disease.
As every patient journey is different and people experience the impact of prostate cancer in very different ways, we can’t take a single approach to their care. Therefore, these men also have a critical role to play in helping the community understand their individual needs to ultimately help improve the lives of all living with the disease.
To help men with prostate cancer have a stronger voice, earlier this year we supported a first of its kind meeting that brought together patient groups from across the region to identify key challenges and opportunities in prostate cancer care. The meeting resulted in the formation of the Prostate Cancer Patient Coalition – Asia Pacific. This is an important first step towards making prostate cancer a priority health focus and driving change with one united patient voice: a voice that can also encourage men to speak out, raise awareness, and promote discussion around a difficult topic to speak on alone.
This Movember, every one of us can start with a small step to support the men in the region with prostate cancer. Along with me, I encourage you to wear a Mo, share the campaign and start a conversation with men in your life about their health.