Men’s Health – Movember
In 2003, several friends in Australia decided to raise awareness for men’s health. For 30 days throughout the month of November they grew moustaches and supported charities for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
11 years later, the Movember Foundation and charity has raised in excess of £340 million and funded over 800 programmes in 21 countries.
Prostate Cancer – The Facts
- Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
- Around 40,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year
- One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
- It is rarely found in men under 45 and the risk of being diagnosed increases with age.
What is the Prostate?
The Prostate is a gland producing liquid that protects and enriches sperm. Located directly under the bladder, in front of the rectum, the prostate goes through two main growth periods as a man ages. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth begins around age 25 and continues during most of a man’s life. Benign prostatic hyperplasia can often occur with the second growth phase.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer does not normally cause symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra. This would normally result in problems associated with urination as well as:
- Passing urine more frequently
- Difficulty in starting and stopping
- Waking in the night to pass urine
- Dribbling of urine after finishing
Most men with these symptoms do not have prostate cancer but rather a benign condition called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. However, if you do have any of these symptoms it is important that you consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Prostate Cancer does not normally cause symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra. This would normally result in problems associated with urination.
A blood test known as Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is one of the first steps to assessing problems with the prostate (along with an examination). If a PSA is elevated it could indicate Prostate Cancer (in 30% of cases).
PSA tests are available as part of routine health screens and are recommended for all men over the age of 45.
Testicular Cancer – The Facts
- Testicular cancer is a malignant tumour of the testis – the male reproductive organs. It accounts for 1 to 2% of all cancers in men
- It is most common in the 15 to 49 age group with the number of cases having trebled in the last 20 years.
- About 1200 to 1300 new cases are diagnosed each year
- The main risk factor for the disease is where there has been a problem in which the testicle has not descended into the scrotal sac in early childhood
- Men who have a brother/father with testicular cancer have a higher (although still small) risk of developing it
Two oval-shaped male sex organs that sit inside the scrotum on either side of the penis – The testicles are an important part of the male reproductive system because they produce sperm and the hormone testosterone, which plays a major role in male sexual development.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles.
Symptoms can include:
- A dull ache in the scrotum (the sac of skin that hangs underneath the penis and contains the testicles
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
Men should check themselves every month for any unusual lumps and knowing how to carry out a testicular self-examination is very important.
Testicular self-examination (TSE) is aimed at detecting cancer at a very early stage when, with improved methods of treatment, a high cure rate can be achieved. All men should examine their testicles once a month. It is best done in or after a warm bath or shower.
- Support the scrotum in the palm of the hand
- Notice any change in size or weight (it is not uncommon or abnormal for one testicle to be larger or hang lower than the other one)
- Using both hands each testicle should be gently rolled between the thumb and index finger. Check for lumps, swelling or change of any sort
What if I find a lump?
If you find a lump don’t panic but make an appointment to see your GP. Many testicular lumps are benign or related to a non-cancerous condition but only your doctor can determine this. Remember, if cancer is present it is usually curable especially when detected early. So do not be afraid to consult your doctor.
Mental Health – The Facts
- 72% of people treated for depression are female.
- 75% of people who take their own lives are male.
Mental health problems in men can go undetected or untreated and as mental health problems can encompass a whole multitude of conditions, can directly affect ones overall health. Some of the major types of mental health problems affecting men include:
- Lack of interest in work
- Low energy levels and lack of motivation and/or concentration
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Anger or irritability
- Hot and cold flushes
- Racing heart
- Constant worry
- Obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour
- Feeling high, over-excited and reckless
- A person imagining they are more important or influential than they are in real life
- Feeling extremely low, feeling helpless and depressed, with difficulty making decisions or concentrating
- Behaving in uncharacteristically
Psychosis and Schizophrenia
- Confused thinking - when acutely ill, people with psychotic symptoms experience disordered thinking. The everyday thoughts that let us live our daily lives become confused and don’t join up properly.
- Delusions - a false belief held by a person, which is not held by others of the same cultural background.
- Hallucinations – the person sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes something that is not actually there. The hallucination is often of disembodied voices which no one else can hear
- Preoccupation with body building, weight lifting or muscle toning
- Weight lifting when injured
- Lowered testosterone
- Anxiety/stress over missing workouts
- Muscular weakness
- Decreased interest in sex, or fears around sex
- Possible conflict over gender identity or sexual orientation
- Using anabolic steroids
It’s important to speak with someone and take the first step if you feel like you may be suffering from any form of mental illness. There are support groups available, specialists and different health professional’s able to provide different types of services and treatments and it is very important to find a mental health professional to suit your needs.