New Male Health Conference

Last week, I attended the National Male Health Conference in Parramatta, NSW. I also gave a short presentation on the subject of prostate cancer, called “Wounding of the Soul“.

The focus of the Conference was the need to seek opportunities to promote male health not only through the health services, but through the workplace, the school and all other areas which can be seen as vital to the social determinants of male health.

Greg Millan and Alan White promoting their books at the National Male Health Conference in Parramatta.

Greg Millan, Director Men’s Health Services NSW, with Alan White, Counsellor and Nutritionist, promoting their books at the National Male Health Conference in Parramatta, NSW.

The Conference, which was organised by Greg Millan of Men’s Health Services, provided a great arena for all participants to learn and network.

I had the pleasure of meeting Professor John Macdonald, Director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre at the University of Western Sydney.  Professor Macdonald is a strong advocate for men’s health across all age groups and cultures.

The Conference kicked off with a Welcome to Country by Stuart McMinn, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Liaison Worker with Interrelate.  It would have been great to attend every presentation, but I had to choose.  As well as the individual sessions, I was able to sit in on panel discussions on topics such as stopping male suicide, improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men’s health and wellbeing, and the future of men’s health.

The trip to Parramatta to attend the Conference was well worthwhile.  I came back to Melbourne feeling re-energised and motivated to find new avenues to promote men’s health.

Movember progress at Day Ten

Okay, Day Ten of Movember has arrived and is swiftly departing.  The Mo Sistas at Shine Health Wellbeing Centre have been out in force today to support the cause.

Donations are steadily trickling in, with some very generous donors indeed.  Thank you to all those who have kindly given so generously.

There’s still plenty of time to support Movember (and my mo) – to raise awareness about men’s health and support research in this area.  You can donate directly to my Movember page at http://mobro.co/alanwhite256 or if you are in the Black Rock area, drop in to Shine and make a donation in person.  Receipts are available, of course, and you can pick up your free men’s health info bag.

Meanwhile, you can check out the pictures below to see the state of bristle growth on my upper lip and see how much better the Mo Sistas are doing.

My book has arrived in time for Movember

After a long gestation, my book has arrived from the publisher, Busybird Publishing.

Busybird staff, Kev and Les, with author Alan White

Alan White, author, with Kev Howlett and Les Zigomanis of Busybird Publishing.

With Movember fast approaching (and, yes, I’ll be growing the mo), the book has arrived at the perfect time.  To watch my progress and make a donation to Movember, click here.  To grab your copy of the book, click here.

Although this is my story of the prostate cancer journey, I think you’ll find there is information that will be relevant to many men with a prostate cancer diagnosis.  Not to mention their partners.  My wife has contributed her experience and helpful suggestions to keep you both happy.

A big thank you to Blaise, Les and Kev at Busybird.  You are an awesome team and have been great to work with.

Alan White, author of We've Lost My Prostate Mate, holding a copy of his book at the publisher, Busybird

Author, Alan White, with his newly released book – We’ve Lost My Prostate Mate… and Life Goes On.

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A day at the yacht club

Last Saturday, we had perfect weather to promote men’s health at the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron in beautiful bayside Melbourne.

Tim Wilson, Federal MP for Goldstein, turned up to show his support and pick up his free men’s health information pack.

Tim Wilson, Federal MP, and Alan White at Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron

Grateful thanks to Andrology Australia, Foundation 49, PCFA and DVA for supplying the valuable literature in each man’s showbag.  If you missed out on a bag, you can drop in to Shine Health Wellbeing Centre, 35 Bluff Road, Black Rock to grab your copy.

Thanks to Ross Popplewell, Commodore of the BMYS, who instigated the Big Aussie BBQ at the Squadron.  Thanks also to Vern, Tony and Paul from Bayside Kingston Prostate Cancer Support Group for turning up and handing out the showbags.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event at the Squadron.

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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

It’s been a long time between posts, but this is an important month – Prostate Cancer Awareness month, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Question – when was the last time you visited your GP for a check-up?

You need check-ups routinely to keep track of your health.  The one I’m asking you to remember most of all this month is your PSA levels (prostate specific antigen).  Any rise in PSA levels may indicate changes in your prostate gland (not necessarily cancer).

So, do you have the balls to get your prostate checked?

As part of Prostate Cancer Awareness month, the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron in Beach Road, Beaumaris, is holding a Big Aussie BBQ.

From breakfast to brunch on Saturday 17th September, they will be providing food, coffee, raffles (with great prizes) and a stunning view of the Bay.

Starting at 8am and running until noon, the funds raised will be given to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).  Gold coin entry will get you in the door.

Photo of Alan White and Ross Popplewell at Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron for Prostate Awareness Month 2016

Alan White and Ross Popplewell, Commodore of Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron

I will be there in my capacity as a volunteer Men’s Health Peer Educator, representing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. There will be free men’s health showbag packs to take away, with information supplied by:

So, if you are in the Bayside area this coming Saturday morning, bring the family along to enjoy the view, the food, the free men’s health information, and a good chat about health or anything else that comes to mind.

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International Men’s Health Week 2016

Machine Man - AMSA - Spanner in the Works

When was your last service?

Did you know that this coming week (13th June to 19th June) is International Men’s Health Week?

Did you know that there’s even an organisation that runs the whole shebang in Australia?  Yep, it’s called Men’s Health Week – catchy, eh?  And how do you like Machine Man below?  He comes to you courtesy of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and features on their Men’s Health Tool Box booklet.  Pretty cool.

Australian Men's Shed Association Machine Man

 

Your body is like a car – both require regular maintenance.

So, what better time to ask yourself:-

  • How am I travelling, physically, mentally and emotionally?
  • Is it time for my annual service with my GP?
  • Do I even have a regular GP?
  • When did I last have my chassis checked?  What about my shock absorbers or my oil pressure?  And don’t let me forget my fuel injector!

Who can you talk to about men’s health issues?

As you may know, I work at a multi-modality health centre in Black Rock, Victoria – Shine Health Wellbeing Centre.  I provide counselling, nutritional advice, massage, Reiki, and craniosacral release.  My special interest is men’s health and wellbeing.

For Men’s Health Week at Shine Health, we are giving away free men’s health information packs from this coming Tuesday (14th June 2016).

The first 20 packs will include a $20 voucher for men to use at the Centre.

The pack will also contain a health appraisal questionnaire that you can fill in to give you some idea of how you’re travelling.  Once you’ve collected your info pack and completed your self-assessment, make an appointment to see me (Alan) or Marta, our Naturopath, to discuss the results.

So, if you’re able to come in to the centre, grab your free info pack and get your engine in top gear.  Or give us a call on 03 9589 4549 to make an appointment.

Shine Health Wellbeing Centre is located at 35 Bluff Road, Black Rock (across the road from Cafeteria, where you can get the best coffee ever).

New Prostate Cancer Treatment Possibilities

Diagram showing MRI-guided biopsy of the Prostate

Technology is certainly moving quickly concerning prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. Biopsies can now be made more accurate by utilising specific MRI scanning and ultrasound together to target the cancer cells.  I’m sure you are familiar with the old “shotgun approach” where multiple needles are inserted and you just hope that one of them hits the target.  With this new approach, there is far greater accuracy with a more defined biopsy result.

For a proper description of this and other ground-breaking techniques, I suggest you have a look at Professor Phillip Stricker’s website.  Professor Stricker has been pioneering therapies such as the NanoKnife, the use of high-frequency electrical current, and Focal Therapy, where ultrasound is used.  These therapies can lead to fewer side-effects, particular in the area of erectile dysfunction and incontinence – neither of which men want to deal with!

It is important to remember that not all men with prostate cancer will be suitable candidates for any of the above treatments.  Each man will need to discuss with his specialist the range of possible treatments available for his specific set of circumstances.  If a man is uncertain or in doubt, I believe that it is always wise to consider a second opinion.  Your health is your responsibility.

In 2016, who’s going to take care of you?

This post is about relaxation. We all need time to rest, rejuvenate and restore our balance.

I recently took time out with my good friend, Peter, to drive up to the Temora Warbirds Downunder Air Show. We escaped the city air and watched some fantastic flying by Australian War Birds such as the Mustang, P40 Kitty Hawk (with a Merlin Rolls Royce engine), and a couple of Spitfires. And, for the first time, the famous ‘Bent Wing Bird’, the FU-4 Corsair. There was also a Grumman TBM Avenger, and of course the famous ‘Black Cat’ Catalina and the long serving (now retired) Caribou; along with a couple of F/A-18s and the Air Force Roulettes, and more.

For more information about Temora, the Aviation Museum and the Warbirds Downunder Air Show, check out their website – Temora Aviation Museum.

So there was plenty to see, and it was great listening to those amazing sounds coming from the Merlin engines and the radials on the Wirraway, the Boomerang, Boeing Stearman and the Ryan. Being on the aerodrome at Temora, which was a WW2 Air Force training base, I could relax and take in the sounds and sights, and smell the Avgas.  I could sense my mind drifting back to work stuff, but I refocused on what was happening around me, to stay present and enjoy the moment. I also realised later on how much I need to do more of this relaxation thing!

So you’re wondering what this has got to do with men’s health. Remember the opening statement about taking care of yourself, well that’s what we did. It was a bit of drive from Melbourne to Temora, about six hours, but that gave us time to take in this great country, even though it’s looking dry, with some crops ready for harvesting. The drive gave us time to chew the fat, talk about aircraft and life.

Although we were only gone for a day and a half, I felt as if I had been away for days. So taking time out doesn’t have to be a fully planned trip, with a passport, it can be going away for a few days, or a weekend to re-charge the battery, which can do wonders for health and wellbeing. It can give you a chance to reflect on what you might need to do regularly to take care of yourself. I will admit to not doing this enough and my wife, Fiona, will attest to that.

In part, this post was inspired by an article written some years ago by Sylvia Silk. In her article, The Silk Touch – Who’s going to take care of you if you don’t?, she wrote about how we can let ourselves go through neglect, leading to breakdown, and then having to deal with the task of restoration. Taking action to restore yourself, if you don’t take time out, requires maximum time, effort, and money.

Sylvia also wrote that your total being is composed of three major areas: physical health, mental function, and spiritual unfoldment (whatever that means for you and whatever nourishes and supports you).

What this means is that we all need to give ourselves permission to rest, relax, play and enjoy life.  Some men can become caught up in working and providing, taking care of the family, so that they may forget about themselves.  When you “filleth your cup” (keep yourself healthy and balanced), there is something of value to draw on when you want to give to others. You are motivated from the heart to take care of the things you love.

Loving yourself means treating yourself with respect and generosity. Your ability to take care of others is limited by the degree to which you take care of yourself! If you continue to take care of others at the expense of yourself, resentment may kick in and resentment can eat away at your soul.  It’s better to say no, step back and take time out to rejuvenate and replenish yourself.

So how well are you taking care of yourself?  Do you need to improve?

New health centre opening

After one of the longest sabbaticals in living memory, I’m returning to practice and joining Marta and the team at Shine Health Wellbeing Centre in Black Rock.

Shine is a multi-disciplinary health centre and you can visit their Facebook page for more information.  Even better, if you are in the area next Saturday (12th December 2015), you can visit the new premises and meet us, sample some mini treatments and say hello.

Shine Health Wellbeing Centre - open day

 

 

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