Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Plumbing in the Men's Room

Men's 'issues' are given short shrift by our society so the bars were abuzz when Bettina Arndt came by and told us some things about Prostate Cancer. And she was more passionate about the neglect of men than most men are.

She came in with a group of Urologists who were in 'Conference' in Melbourne. It was a change to hear of a conference about men's cancer as we are all too used to having women's cancers on TV,  the endless stream of phone calls the tavern gets daily, the 'fun runs' that go by the Tavern seemingly every month and from which men are banned from participating - They are 'women-only' because some women might feel frightened if a man is running with them.

I have every sympathy for cancer sufferers be they women or men or children. but publicly no-one is encouraged to consider the men. It is "Women and Children First" with the women taking the first of the first spot.

Bettina said:

Men who have surgery for prostate cancer struggle to get proper advice about, 
or effective treatment for, 
its terrible side effects.
When Brisbane woman Jill Costello received treatment for breast cancer seven years ago, she found herself surrounded by expert care and support. Her ''fairy godmother'', a breast-care nurse, just made things happen. Her questions were fully answered, her doctors went out of their way to make sure she had proper advice and every possible aid to her recovery.
She is a woman and she had a woman's cancer issue.  Good to see she was treated with care and concern. Imagine if she had been her husband.

Can you imagine a cartoon like this about a woman with breast cancer?
Four years later, when her husband, Brian, had surgery for prostate cancer, the couple discovered they were on their own.  
Questions about lasting side effects from the surgery were fobbed off and Jill found herself googling late into the night, reading up on risks of incontinence and erection problems resulting from damage to the penile nerves.
''Even when I made an appointment to see the urologist myself, he simply warned there could be difficulties but gave no advice on what to do or where to go,'' she says.

Men's problems are for laughing at, not sympathising with.

Imagine again a woman in need of a Gynocologist  seeing an advert in the newspapers like this:

The tweetosphere would be alive with twaddle and Kevin Rudd would be condemning it as a plot by Mr Abbott personally.

But, back to Bettina:
The couple muddled through themselves, asking around until they found one of the few local doctors offering specialist help with the erection recovery process and a physiotherapist for the incontinence.
With her daughter Leah, Jill now runs the organisation ManUp!, which raises money to train more prostate cancer nurses.  
There are only 12 specialist prostate cancer nurses in Australia compared to 85 for breast cancer.
Yet, more men are diagnosed each year with prostate cancer than women with breast cancer

18,560 compared with 14,560 in 2012, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
8 times as many nurses for women 
ManUp! hears regularly from men whose urologists have shown no interest in what happens to their patients after prostate cancer treatment. One man left impotent and incontinent after his robotic surgery was told the doctor's job was simply to deal with the cancer.

''That's crazy. It's like a knee surgeon not caring whether the man can walk again.  
It's appalling how few urologists are making sure men have the help they need

to regain erections and continence, yet the impact of these problems can be just as devastating to a man as a mastectomy can be to a woman,'' Jill says.
This week a world congress on prostate cancer is being held in Melbourne, with up to 300 urologists among 1000 delegates attending from Australia and overseas. Although there are sessions on sexual functioning and continence, many urologists choose instead to attend talks on the latest cutting-edge treatments or diagnostic techniques.

''We have got better with the technical aspects of the surgery to remove the prostate and preserve function, but I think we have a long way to go with all aspects of rehabilitation, including the psychology of facing a serious illness, urinary incontinence and erectile failure,'' says Prem Rashid, a urologist and associate professor at the University of NSW, who has spent more than 15 years involved with urology training.

Read more:

Questions and comments were heard in the bars: "When are men going to be treated with the same care and attention as woman get? "

"Men do not want the faux-reverence. They do not want their penises worshipped like women seem to have for  their vaginas. "

"Breast are the new sacred orbs"

"Men pay the taxes that provide health services to women."

Much thinking and drinking.


  1. Wow! That is mindboggling-and a disgrace.I ha never considered the issue but you're right, men's cancers just don't get the attention[and obvious due care] that women's do.

    Women are so educated about getting pap smears and mammograms that very few neglect this,yet how many men are aware of how important it is to get their prostate checked? I am not even sure I have ever dated a man who has had this check-up.

    1. Yes, it is a disgrace. But I hazard it is not that men are not educated in the matter so much as the education is provided hand over fist for women while men are simply ignored.

      The issue was raised some years ago by a senior public servant who assessed to his bureaucratic satisfaction that the disparity in health funding was discriminatory. So he made a detailed complaint to the Discrimination Commissioner.

      That fine and well dressed lady who went on to be come our Governor General Quentin Bryce, dismissed the complaint with the words, "Well he would complain, he is a man".

    2. That response is a disgrace and she should have been reprimanded severely if not let go. How many men died due to her recklessness?

      It's the same with women who are routinely told the advantages of self breast exams,but do they routinely tell men to do regularly testicular exams too?

  2. Not a topic I can even look at rationally. But certainly under the radar.

  3. "ManUp! hears regularly from men whose urologists have shown no interest in what happens to their patients after prostate cancer treatment. One man left impotent and incontinent after his robotic surgery was told the doctor's job was simply to deal with the cancer."

    While this situation is terrible, a glimmer of hope exists here. All of these regular reports could serve a positive purpose. Perhaps the organization named above could start publishing the reports, in an anonymous fashion, on their website? Like the Better Business Bureau does? Each doctor that acted this way would be named and shamed in a very public manner. Such a website would discourage the poor treatment of men and give doctors an incentive to provide much better medical care, even if it only was to protect their own reputation.

    From Iron John

    1. Having a data-base is to be encouraged. Knowing who are neglectful is a good idea. But if we are to 'shame' particular doctors we need to have some 'culpability' involved. I would hazard that most are simply un-trained rather than uninterested. They might need sime help rather than a kick. The 'assisting' resources are rare and thin and it is those that need a boost too.

  4. Prostate Cancer UK along with the Movember Movement in the UK is trying to address some of those issues. They are investing in community support centres and facilitating a recruitment programme to allow more nurses to provide specialist care that the men may need. They are also trying to ensure that men have the relevant information as soon as they are diagnosed with prostate cancer and helping to educate health care professionals so that they can provide the best support and care that is needed.
    Those posters are crass and insensitive. Some of the side effects of Prostate Cancer can be undignified and should be dealt with more sensitivity and understanding.

    From Owen Sharp, Prostate Cancer UK CEO:

    "Without the support of Movember we would not be able to continue to fund innovative research or provide support and information to men at a time when they need it most.

    It is a sad fact that men's health has too long been neglected as an issue, both in terms of investment in research, survivorship and awareness. Prostate cancer has certainly been subject to this legacy of neglect and Movember is a massive part of helping us to redress this balance and put men's health firmly in the spotlight.”

    1. Thank you for that Cherry. Praise must go where it is due and the Movember org has done well. Mind you, they have my permanent beard and moustache as a reminder all year around. :)


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..