Prostate cancer (PC) is the most common cancer in Victoria, representing 27 percent of all cancers diagnosed in Victorian men and 15 percent of all cancers. Causes of PC are not fully understood and there is currently no clear prevention strategy. Risk factors include age, family history of PC, dietary factors, and ethnicity.
Compared to women, men experience more lifestyle risks, engage with health providers less frequently, have higher rates of avoidable and premature mortality, and have higher mortality from cancer.
In October 2015, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services funded the EJ Whitten Foundation to develop and implement an innovative men’s health initiative over three years.
To improve men’s health knowledge and health seeking behaviours to prevent or detect early signs of cancer and other chronic diseases.
“It’s Time to Test” pop up events encouraged a primary audience of men over 30 years to; know their Body Mass Index, have a GP health check, check blood pressure and speak about their health.
Engagement was through Australian rules football clubs and cricket clubs and other sports such as golf. Electronic direct mail from a database reinforces men’s health messages.
‘It’s Time to Test’; reached 173,310 people, included 519 grass roots sporting clubs, 998 blood tests taken and 874 database registrations.
Evaluation showed 87 per cent of the primary audience had an annual health check following engagement with the program. Fifty one percent of men had a blood pressure test at an ‘Time to Test’ event.
‘It’s Time to Test’ demonstrated reach and engagement with various Victorian sporting communities. Blood pressure checks are effective in engaging men and encouraging them to see a GP. The Government has committed another three years funding, expanding to regional areas and implementing a specific program for Victorian Aboriginal men.