What Is The Men’s Health Initiative

The current goal of the Men’s Health Program is to leverage off the Prostate Cancer Centre’s Get Checked 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 45,000 PSA tests and captured data around this test. In the last year we have collected over 1,500 statistics from men on blood sugar, blood pressure and waist circumference and we can definitely speak to trends we are seeing.

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 



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