Contrary to the politically-correct stance of today, men can do some things better than women. Conversely, women can do some things better than men. Case in point on the latter is taking care of one’s health. Women have the guys beat hands down. It’s not uncommon for many men to have never seen a doctor.
When one looks at the top 13 causes of death in Alberta – including all cancers, heart disease, accidental or unintentional injury, diabetes, stroke, chronic liver disease and respiratory disease – men lead women in every category except one: women die more frequently than men from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The reason for this is that men simply do not live long enough to die from this disease process.
The inequity in gender health becomes even more staggering when one studies men’s mental health struggles. More than 500 Albertans die of suicide every year. Of those, more than 400 are men between the ages of 30 to 69.
Dr. Shelley Spaner, a radiologist/partner at Mayfair Diagnostics and a board member at the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre (PCC), is determined to change the inequity in gender health. Her passion for the cause dates back to her first clinical rotation where she met a patient she will never forget. He was a man in his mid-70s dying as a consequence of multiple preventable diseases that had gone untreated.
“I thought we could have done better for him,” says Spaner. “Over my years of medical school and residency, and in my early years of practice, I have met many other memorable patients. Overwhelmingly, the patients that have stood out to me were men who presented late in their clinical course,” she adds.
Roughly two years ago, Spaner launched Women for Men’s Health with the support of the Prostate Cancer Centre. Since then, the group has held several successful fundraising events with proceeds helping to expand the recently-opened Men’s Health Clinic at the PCC.
February 1, 2019 will see the group’s biggest initiative to date with the presentation of the
Women for Men’s Health gala taking place at Hotel Arts. The focus of the Big Ball – as the event is cheekily named – is men’s mental health. Karen Gosbee, a tireless advocate and community leader in mental health, will be ambassador for this year’s event. Her late husband, George Gosbee, a well-known and incredibly successful Calgary businessman, committed suicide at 48 years of age in November of last year.
The gala promises to be an unforgettable evening and will no doubt be a success. “We look forward to welcoming you to the Big Ball on February 1, 2019 at Hotel Arts. With your support, we will help the men in our community who are suffering silently,” says Spaner.
Tickets to the Big Ball are available by visiting www.thebigball.ca.