Who we are

Calgary Radiologist and PCC board member, Dr. Shelley Spaner, is the founder of Women for Men’s Health (WFMH). Dr. Spaner witnessed the disparity between women and men’s health firsthand, and started this initiative to engage women as active players in closing the gender gap when it comes to health and wellness.

Her vision is to create a program at Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre that resides within the Southern Alberta Institute of Urology (SAIU) that is all inclusive and accessible for men. This initiative will mobilize women as key players in helping to to shift men’s behaviours towards maintaining their health.

The message is simple: to prevent Albertan men from dying from modifiable health factors related to diet, weight, blood pressure, and prostate cancer. We need to encourage men to visit their doctor and #GETCHECKED regularly.

Download the full men’s health overview here.

The Mission

The mission behind Women for Men’s Health’s is to create awareness about Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre’s Men’s Health program – Know Your Numbers. The initiative was started in order to raise money for programs which increase awareness and support research in areas that impact men’s health.

The four key areas of focus:

  1. Identify key clinical priorities in men’s health
  2. Identify key research priorities in men’s health
  3. Identify enablers and barriers of top clinical and research priorities
  4. Educate policy and decision makers about the roll and value of long-term follow up care in men’s health

Men’s Health

The current goal of the Men’s Health Program is to leverage off Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre’s #GETCHECKED program that is delivered to men through our MAN VAN™.  As well as offering free PSA tests, we felt it made sense to have men understand other numbers that impacted their long-term health. Since 2010, we have administered over 50,000 PSA tests and captured data around this test. In four years, we have collected over 11,000 statistics from men on blood sugar, blood pressure, waist circumference, and this last year, the addition of a mental health stress check.

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What We Measure

Men's Health Measurements

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

The prostate is a small gland about the size and shape of a walnut. It is located under the bladder, in front of the rectum, and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). If the prostate grows too large, the flow of urine can be slowed or stopped. The prostate makes, stores, and secretes fluid that forms part of the semen in which sperm are transported. PSA is a protein made by the prostate. Most PSA is found in semen, but some can be found in blood. A PSA test is a blood test that checks your PSA level.

High PSA levels provide a clue that a man may have prostate cancer. High levels may also be caused by cancer or non-cancerous conditions like infection, or an enlarged prostate. After treatment, your doctor will continue to monitor your PSA levels. If any prostate cancer cells remain after treatment they would cause a rise in the PSA.

Normal PSA Levels:

Age PSA Level
Up to age 49 0.00-2.50 µg/l
50-59 0.00-3.50 µg/l
60-69 0.00-4.50 µg/l
Age 70 and above 0.00-6.50 µg/l
*Reference range from Calgary lab Services.

Waist Circumference

For the general public, one of the most reliable body measurements is “waist circumference” This measurement is an indicator of health risk associated with excess fat around the waist. Carrying excess body fat around your middle is more of a health risk than if weight is on your hips and thighs. Waist circumference is a good estimate of visceral fat, the dangerous internal fat that coats the organs. It is therefore a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular risk, (high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and type two diabetes.

To calculate waist circumference, a tape measure is wrapped around the waist, roughly in line with the belly button. A waist circumference of 102 centimeters (40 inches) or more in men, or 88 centimeters (35 inches) or more in women, is associated with health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  Many of these diseases can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and following a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity.  Even small amounts of weight loss bring health benefits.

Blood Pressure

The pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries. It changes with the strength of each heartbeat, the elasticity of the material walls, the blood volume and viscosity (thickness of the blood), and a mans’ overall health, age, and physical condition.

Category Systolic / Diastolic
Low risk 120 / 80
Medium risk 121-139 / 80-89
High risk 140+ / 90

 

For the Know Your Numbers campaign, we use guidelines from:

  • Heart and Stroke Foundation: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/health-information-catalogue/en-managing-your-blood-pressure.ashx?la=en&hash=96DF8F3C8D87DDFC5E0DB328E6FE2418AEC684AF
  • Alberta Health Services:  https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/facilities/images/Mazankowksi/maz-pv-controlling-blood-pressure.pdf

Blood Sugar

Blood glucose is a type of sugar (glucose) in your blood. Glucose comes from the food we eat and is the main source of energy used by the body. Insulin is a naturally produced hormone that helps the cells in your body use the glucose. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood when the amount of sugar, (glucose) in the blood rises.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that can be debilitating if not treated. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves.

For our Know Your Numbers campaign, we use:

  • Canadian Diabetes Association: https://www.diabetes.ca/
  • Alberta Health Services Guidelines: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/nutrition/if-nfs-ng-diabetes.pdf 

Stress Check

The Stress Check provides a quick check in on a client’s mental health. Answering a few questions can alert us to any symptoms that might be associated with mental illness. On the MAN VAN, the Stress Check is performed by using the PHQ-9 questionnaire. The questions focus on depression; a common, treatable mental illness. These symptoms can also be related to physical illnesses. Once completed, a score is provided. Clients who experience symptoms will be advised to follow up with a health care provider who can complete a thorough examination to better understand the cause.

Understanding Your Score: 

  • 0-9  Symptoms are absent or mild. If any symptoms become worse or do not go away, it may be worth contacting your health care provider.
  • 10-19  Symptoms are being experienced to a moderate or severe degree. This is concerning. They should be checked by your health care provider to determine what is causing them. A complete examination is recommended.
  • 20-27  Symptoms are being experienced at a severe level. A complete evaluation is strongly recommended by a health care provider.
  • Item #9 – This asks about thoughts of being better off dead or hurting yourself. Experiencing thoughts like these is considered serious and follow up with a health care provider is required and should be considered urgent.

For more information about Men’s Mental Health CLICK HERE 

 

DISTRESS CENTRES and CRISIS LINES

Help is available for anyone thinking about suicide or feels that they are in a crisis.

For direct suicide support call: 1-833-4564566 (24/7/365) or text 45645 (daily 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM, MT)

Distress Centre Calgary and surrounding areas
Crisis 24 hours:(403) 266-4357

Crisis Support Centre, Edmonton and Northern Alberta
Crisis 24 hours:1-800-232-7288 (Toll free available to Northern Alberta)
Crisis 24 hours: (780) 482-4357

Distress Line of Southwestern Alberta (Canadian Mental Health Association)
Serving Chinook Health Region and south part of Calgary
Crisis 24 hours: 1-888-787-2880
Crisis 24 hours: (403) 327-7905

Health LinkDial 8-1-1

Mental Health Help Line – call toll-free 1-877-303-2642 (24/7)

In crisis or emergency? Attend a hospital Emergency Department, or call 9-1-1

For other social supports, call or text: 2-1-1. This is the information line for community, social and government services like crisis hotlines. For example: crisis intervention support, counselling services and domestic violence help lines.

2-1-1 is answered by the Calgary Distress centre. Staff use the Inform Alberta database to search available supports that will assist a caller.

This database is available to everyone online at: informalberta.ca

Events

The Big Ball

The Big Ball is Calgary’s premier event that takes place the last Friday of January. Hosted by our presenting sponsor Hotel Arts, the gala raises awareness and funds for the Women for Men’s Health initiative at Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre. The Big Ball promises to be a grand soiree resplendent in eye catching décor, toe tapping tunes, amazing auction items,and delicious fare that is the talk of the town. Moreover, it serves as a great fundraiser for our initiative that, for the past two years, has focused its efforts towards men’s mental health.

Contact Us

Dr. Shelley Spaner
403-943-8888
Email

Shannon de Vall
403-943-8901
Email