Inspiring Preventative Healthcare

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Client: Astellas Pharma

Brief: Famous for its infatuation with the body beautiful, Brazil is a country where health, fitness and vitality vie for the same limelight. It is therefore astonishing to find that one in six Brazilian men suffer from prostate cancer. What’s even more alarming is that the rate of men dying from this perfectly preventable disease is almost double that of developed countries. In over 95% of cases, if diagnosed at an early stage, it is possible to fully recover from prostate cancer. Why then these disconcerting statistics?

Delayed diagnosis is the main culprit, fuelled by a fiercely masculine culture and a lack of information. The stigma around rectal exams notwithstanding, many men are too proud to go for routine check-ups, let alone to admit that they’re feeling ill. The belief is that “real men” don’t go for tests, and many find it embarrassing just discussing it. Prostate issues directly relate to sexual performance and urinary control issues – taboo subjects when trying to preserve ideas of masculinity. Sadly the reality is that the cancer is then only discovered when it is too late to do anything about it.

Yet, machismo is not the only thing at fault here. There is a structural problem in the public health system which fails to encourage seemingly healthy men to be examined and tested. Little information is released about the disease and people therefore don’t know that prevention is better than cure, or that a cure is even possible.

Idea: These films explore this landscape of Brazilian attitudes to men’s health through the personal stories of 3 families and the input of a cross spectrum of Brazilian on their experience of the stigma, why it exists, and what if anything they feel can be done to change it.

Impact: Content has been distributed as part of the Novembro Azul Campaign, with the objectives of increasing awareness of disease and prevention by education and to increase “early screening” and health access by advocacy.

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