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Men's Health Policy announced down under

To coincide with this year's Men's Health Week, Australia's new Labor government under Kevin Rudd has announced the country's first ever National Men's Health Policy.

The paper Setting the scene: developing a men's health policy for Australia will be launched by Minister for Health Nicola Roxon. In Australia:

  • Men are expected to live 4.8 years less than women
  • Men are three times more likely to commit suicide
  • Men experience 70% of the burden of disease related to injury
  • Men are over-represented in deaths related to HIV/AIDS.

The health of Indigenous men is also significantly worse than for any other group in Australia, with an average life expectancy of only 59 years  some 20 years less than non-Indigenous Australian males.

The government is promising funding for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy and funding to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to help establish a 'Would you pass a Roadworthy?' campaign to encourage men to see their GP for preventive health checks.

In its official announcement, the Australian government says: 'Men's health deserves attention. Over the next twelve months, the Government will develop a comprehensive men's health policy. We want to know what men consider to be the priorities for their health, and we want to look at how we can build up the evidence base in this area, including opportunities for research over the long term.

Consultations will be held throughout Australia, including a forum to be held in Canberra towards the end of 2008.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed internal cancer in Australia, with more than 15,000 cases diagnosed each year. Prostate cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death in Australian men, with almost 3,000 dying of prostate cancer in 2005.

This was recognised in last month's Federal Budget, with the government committing $15 million to set up two dedicated prostate cancer research centres.

Bowel cancer

Australian men have the second highest rate of bowel cancer in the world, after New Zealand. Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australian men, after prostate cancer. And yet, it is one of the most preventable cancers.

The Government has responded by expanding the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program at a cost of $87.4 million over three years.

Perspective on Men's Health

Prof. John Macdonald, President of the Australasian Men's Health Forum and Co-Director of the Men's Health Information and Resource Centre, was the guest on the Perspective program on ABC Radio National talking about what is needed in National Men's Health Policy.

Page created on June 10th, 2008

Page updated on December 1st, 2009