Empowering Australians to open up about their prostate health

Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australians

Some people who identify as male struggle to open up about their health. According to research conducted by the not-for-profit Movember, 58% of men globally think that society expects them to be emotionally strong and not show weakness. And some of these individuals might be going through one of the toughest events in their life: a prostate cancer diagnosis, which is the most common cancer in Australia.

Monash partnered with Movember to help raise awareness amongst Australians of the symptoms and treatment options for prostate cancer. Monash set up a program called BroSupPORT which aims to help people understand how the side effects they are experiencing compare with people of similar age and risk profile who have received the same prostate cancer treatment.

 

Raising awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer will encourage more people to speak with their healthcare professionals and catch the illness early when it is easier and less invasive to treat. Without more content featuring local people sharing their prostate cancer journey, the subject could remain taboo for many, putting their health at risk.

Monash and Movember joined forces to offer helpful resources to people going through a prostate cancer diagnosis or who have questions they would like answered about the long-term effects of treatment and the impact on relationships. London Agency was approached as a partner to produce a set of videos targeted at Australians, featuring Australians.

 

Prostate cancer treatment options include prostatectomy, where the whole prostate is surgically removed, or brachytherapy, a form of radiation therapy where radioactive implants are inserted into the tissue for radiation therapy. Both can have significant long-term effects such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

The main challenge was finding people who would be ready and open to talk about this topic to a camera crew for a public video. Many could find sharing about their erectile dysfunction or incontinence uncomfortable even with friends or loved ones. The added challenge was to identify people from a variety of backgrounds to make the resources inclusive and relatable.

 

Whilst it proved easier to onboard Anglo-Australians, the people of ethnically diverse backgrounds who were approached for the videos were generally less comfortable sharing about their prostate health, mostly for cultural reasons.

 

A pool of candidates was provided by Monash, and London Agency conducted the outreach to find the ideal video candidates. It took several attempts to lock in a diverse range of men willing to share their prostate cancer story. Relationships with candidates were nurtured through phone calls and emails over several weeks to ensure they were ready and comfortable for the shoot.

 

Something that was critical to identifying the right participants was giving them an opportunity to hear the interview questions beforehand, and a better understanding of the content that was expected in these videos.

Before the shoot, the men were interviewed over the phone by London Agency. We asked the same questions as those that would be used at the shoot to give them an opportunity to assess whether they would be comfortable with the content we were looking to capture. At this stage, a couple of the candidates stepped down, however, the phone interview did cement which candidates were the right fit for the videos.

 

Once the nine video candidates were shortlisted, they were briefed with all the information required to attend the shoot. For some, it was their first time in front of the camera, so managing this process with care was crucial.

 

The shoots took place over two full days at Monash, and the talent were invited to be filmed and give candid responses to our questions. For some, their prostate cancer treatment was recent, so it was a challenging topic to talk about.

 

The videos were edited into simple piece-to-camera edits, without B-roll, and balanced with helpful information alongside powerful human experience. Subjects covered included prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery, life after treatment including impact on relationships and incontinence, and their advice to others.

 

The videos were shared on Movember’s TrueNorth website, a hub for resources aimed at those going through a prostate cancer diagnosis.