Movember raises awareness of men's health issues

DIG DEEP: Golden Square's John McIlrath has set a Movember fundraising target of $500. Picture: DARREN HOWE
DIG DEEP: Golden Square's John McIlrath has set a Movember fundraising target of $500. Picture: DARREN HOWE

John McIlrath knows first hand the crucial role preventative medicine plays in longevity.

At the age of 31, Mr McIlrath from Bendigo, Victoria, was diagnosed with advance stage testicular cancer and given just a five per cent chance of survival.

Almost 10 years on, he's growing a mo and fundraising for Movember, in the hope of generating discussion about men's health.

"Men are notoriously bad at talking and going to the doctor," Mr McIlrath said.

"The more the message gets out there, the more men's health outcomes will improve."

Bendigo Health's chief nursing and midwifery officer David Rosaia said surveillance is important.

"If you show any signs and symptoms, don't wait, go to your GP," MR Rosaia said.

"Particularly when it comes to mental health, don't be afraid to share what concerns you.

"As men, we need to be able to express ourselves."

Mr McIlrath, a former police officer and heavy diesel mechanic in the Australia Army, said prior to his diagnosis, he noticed his body changing.

"I did nothing about it," he said.

"I waited six months from first noticing things and found excuses for why I was feeling tired or why my fitness was down."

Months later, after coughing up blood and experiencing unbearable pain, Mr McIlrath visited his GP.

"I had only visited a few months ago and didn't want them to think I was a malinger," he said.

"That goes back to my army days. I just didn't want to think it was real.

"It was the mindset I operated in at the time."

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Mr McIlrath couldn't believe what was to follow, a diagnosis of cancer.

"You know the news isn't going to be good when you walk in and the clinic is packed with people and the receptionist ushers you straight through," he said.

"I was in a completely different world.

"I was prepared to die."

Following numerous chemotherapy treatments and surgeries, Mr McIlrath is in remission.

"I'm lucky to have the best wife in the world, a great family and great friendship group," he said.

To donate to Mr McIlrath's Movember fundraiser, visit au.movember.com/mospace/9745485

This story Time to put the razors and shavers away as Movember returns first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.