Whilst not all of them will end up quite as impressive as those donned by celebrities such as Tom Selleck or Lionel Richie, there’s a serious message behind all the furry faces that will appear over the next few weeks. That’s because Movember aims to raise awareness of health issues that rob many thousands of men of their lives each year, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
Since the Movember movement began in Australia in 2003, over 6m people across the world have joined the cause, raising funds for more than 1,250 men’s health projects.
Men’s health mattersMen on average die six months earlier than women, often for preventable reasons. For example, they may not be aware of the importance of regularly checking for signs of prostate or testicular cancer, or might be suffering with mental health problems and don’t know where to turn for support.
The Movember movement has an action checklist of five things men can do to protect themselves and help others. These are:
1) Stay connected and spend time with people who make you feel goodRegularly meet up with friends and spend time catching up with them. This can help boost your mental health and ensure you have people to turn to if you’re struggling.
2) Talk moreBe there for your friends and contacts, so they know they can talk to you if they are ever in trouble or need someone to listen.
3) Know the numbersOnce you reach the age of 50, you should talk to your doctor about prostate cancer, and see if you should get tested. This drops to 45 if your father or brother has had prostate cancer, or if you are of African or Caribbean descent.
4) Check your testiclesRegularly check your testicles for any changes and if you spot any unusual lumps or bumps, get checked out by your doctor.
5) Move moreMake some time in your daily routine for regular exercise to help you stay healthy.
Ways to protect yourself financiallyAs well as taking steps to look after yourself physically and mentally, you may want to consider ways to protect yourself financially in case you do become unwell.
Protection policies can help to reduce some of the financial strain that conditions like cancer can create. For example, critical illness policies not only cover cancer when it has reached the full-blown invasive level but will also cover less advanced levels of both testicular and prostate cancer with a smaller additional payment.
Insurer definitions around these covers and the levels of payments providers offer have improved greatly in recent years, with some providers offering lump sum payments of £25-£30k if you’re diagnosed with low grade prostate cancer. These payments can make all the difference to the mental health of a patient receiving that diagnosis, in terms of allowing them to focus on what matters most, rather than worrying about the financial impact of no longer being able to provide an income.
Income protection is another option worth thinking about and can ensure that your mortgage and bills can continue to be paid should stress, anxiety or depression mean you are unable to work – again lessening the financial burden while you focus on getting better.
Additional benefitsProtection policies don’t only provide financial support. Many of them come with additional benefits, such as remote GP access – allowing easy access to referrals and diagnosis without the need to take time off work or attend in person, which can be a big barrier to men seeking help.
Several providers also offer access to counselling or wellbeing support online or via an app. These benefits are often not only available to the policyholder but also to family as well,
If you’d like to learn more about protection, or specifically about male-related critical illnesses, call one of our expert protection advisers on 0800 073 1932.