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Jun 08, 2021

Data from StatsSA shows that between 2002 and 2020, the life expectancy of males in South Africa increased from 59.9 years to 64.6 years, and for females from 67.2 to 71.3 years. Compared to women, men have shorter life expectancies and are typically less likely to visit a doctor.  Many take better care of their cars or favourite tech gadget than their bodies – but no one is invincible.

This Men’s Health Month (June), we would like to make you aware of a few common preventable health problems, and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

  1. Diabetes

It is reported that men are twice as likely to get diabetes than women are. According to the World Health Organization, in South Africa, over 50% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients had diabetes.

The three diabetes (CDL 11, 12 and 13) types are on the Chronic Disease List and are covered across all plans. Bestmed also offers members a Diabetes care programme, which focuses on actively managing members with diabetes, while taking into consideration any associated diseases/disorders, e.g. high cholesterol, high blood pressure etc.

  1. Depression and suicide

Men and women both experience depression but their symptoms can be very different. While women seem to experience depression at a higher rate than men, there is some thought that men may be under-represented in these statistics.

This may be due to a combination of social and biological factors that make it more challenging to notice and diagnose depression in men.

Bestmed has partnered with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) to offer a 24-hour mental health helpline, with the aim of supporting members who are experiencing mental health issues by managing its effects, providing additional support and improving quality of life.

  1. Skin cancer

The Skin Cancer Foundation reported that men aged over 50 are at the highest risk of developing skin cancer – twice as likely as women.

Bestmed provides oncology benefits, applying evidence-based medicine principles and considering affordability across the different benefit options. Our Oncology care programme offers oncology treatment, which includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, certain pathology and certain

consultations. Certain supportive medicines in the Bestmed oncology formulary are also covered.

  1. Prostate cancer

Most men with early prostate cancer do not exhibit any signs or symptoms. However, in rare cases, the tumour could be pressing on and constricting the urethra, causing some urinary discomforts.

For all men older than 50, or with a history of prostate cancer in your family, regular screening is advised. Bestmed offers Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test to measure the level of PSA as a preventative care benefit.

To get more information on prostate cancer or on how to book a prostate exam through Bestmed, please call 012 472 6254 or email diseasemanagement@bestmed.co.za.

  1. Alcohol abuse

Men generally account for higher rates of alcohol-related hospitalisations and death than women. Alcohol abuse increases the risk of mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver and colon cancers. It also interferes with testicular function and hormone production.

Bestmed has contracted with various Designated Service Providers (DSPs) to provide members with rehabilitation services for alcohol and substance abuse.

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