Quartet itch to share health message

By Tessa Johnstone

They may not have raised a lot of cash, but the moustaches of four Carterton health professionals did generate a lot of conversation about men's health.

Staff from Carterton Medical Centre and Back In Action Physiotherapy were happy to be shaving off their Movember-grown facial hair yesterday after spending the month grooming them in the name of prostate cancer and men's mental health awareness.

Physiotherapist Ryan Monastra said although the team only raised $18.50, which they will be boosting from their own pockets, it started a lot of conversations with patients about men's health.

"The first thing people say when they walk in is 'is that a new look or is it for Movember?' so it was good in as much as the message is out there, people know about it."

Mr Monastra said he found himself talking to clients about prostate checks and cardiac issues and said it was hugely positive from that perspective.

He was less convinced by the moustache growing though.

"It's itchy. My kids run a mile from me, my wife puts up with it, but kids are certainly not massive fans," he said.

Craig Cherry said with prostate cancer rates are as high as breast cancer rates but with no national screening programme, awareness is key and he also used it as an opportunity to talk to patients about men's health issues.

Dr Cherry said he routinely gives all his male patients over 50 the prostate-specific antigen test which gives an indication of prostate cancer risk.

"It's easy enough for us to do as part of a routine consultation."

The team also included doctors David Heard and Ian McArthur, who was in Australia this week but told the Times-Age last week that he was looking forward to shaving off his moustache. Nationally, Movember raised $1,333,173 for the cause.


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