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    My personal view: I would like to see much more attention given to addressing critical issues around men’s health and men’s health literacy. This is largely, but not exclusively, a crisis of middle-aged Australian men who are in denial about their risk factors and who refuse to engage with the health care system until it is too late, many of them not trusting doctors because of a lack of certainty in advice and treatment, and because their masculinity views insist that real men don’t don’t worry about health issues.
    There is a lot more that the primary health care sector can do (PHNs, are you listening? How about reminder letters or text messages to middle-aged men who haven’t seen a GP for a year or more, haven’t renewed scripts and haven’t undertaken the recommended preventive screenings?), and there is also a lot that needs to be done in terms of getting information to men whose concepts of masculinity make them resistant to normal health information. For example, information about the early symptoms of bowel cancer and lung cancer (stop dismissing that night-time back pain as ‘muscle aches’!), and the importance of screening for these, will make a very different impression if delivered by breakfast television or in the workplace than by a ‘nagging wife’. Same for interpreting those BP and cholesterol readings. Organisations such as the OzHelp Foundation, that are delivering workplace-based health programs such as ‘Tune Up’ to hard-to-reach males should be better funded to increase reach and impact.


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