November is Men’s Health Awareness month. Charities like Movember, Blue Ribbon Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK, It’s On the Ball, Men’s Health Forum and Men’s Shed Association in Ireland and Northern Ireland promoting awareness of both physical and mental health issues for men and offering advice and services on how detect early symptoms, employ preventative measures and how best to treat and live with diagnoses.
Earlier this week we posted on how you can spot the signs and help men take care of their mental health. Today we look at how you can look after men’s physical well-being as well as looking at the key signs for two of the most common forms of cancer that specifically effect men and how early intervention and simple checks can save lives.
Men’s Physical Health
One simple way to take care of your physical health is to be involved in a regular form of exercise. Joining your local sports club like our recent clients Loughgiel Shamrocks GAA, Craughwell Athletics Club, Ballynahinch Football and Rugby Club or Illies Boxing Club can go a long way to improving you physical health, grow friendships and team camaraderie and improve your mental health as well.
Two forms of cancer that specifically effect men are prostate and testicular cancer.
Prostate Cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. Globally, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Only men have a prostate gland. The prostate gland is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra.
Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than normal, resulting in a tumour. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. These prostate cancer cells, if left untreated, may spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes and bones, producing secondary tumours in a process known as metastasis.
Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, but that doesn’t mean it’s a disease that only affects old men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Men who are black, and men who have a family history (a brother or father with prostate cancer), are 2.5x more likely to get prostate cancer.
If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about PSA testing. If you’re black, you need to start that conversation at 45. And if you have a brother or father with prostate cancer in their history, do it at 45.
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer:-
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Testicular cancer is the #1 cancer among young men, and yet 62% of those who are most at risk don’t know how to check themselves. The best thing you can do for your testicles is to give them a feel every month or so – get to know what’s normal for you. That way, if anything changes you can act on it.
How to Examine Yourself
Spend time with people who make you feel good. Your mates are important and spending time with them is good for you. Catch up regularly, check in, and make time.
You don’t need to be an expert and you don’t have to be the sole solution. But being there for someone, listening to them and giving your time can be life-saving.
At 50, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether it’s right for you to have a PSA test. If you are of African or Caribbean descent, or have a father or brother with prostate cancer, you should be having this conversation at 45. Know your numbers, know your risk, and talk to your doctor.
Get to know what’s normal for your testicles. Give them a check regularly and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
Add more activity to your day. Do more of what makes you feel good. Take a walking meeting. Park further away from the station. Get off the bus a stop or two earlier. Instead of the lift, take the stairs.
For more information on early detection and how to cope with a diagnosis visit the website of some of the expert organisations above. Are you a charity or organisation who needs assistance in funding your next product or service? Get in touch with Community Finance Ireland to see if we can help.