It’s good to talk – especially when it can help save thousands of lives!
The Movember movement – publicising men’s health issues – has been an international success since it was launched in Australia back in 2003. But it seems far too many mean are still keeping their health worries to themselves.
“It is well known that men tend to keep things bottled up when it comes to medical issues,” said Consultant Urologist Alan Doherty, “But that really is the worst thing they can do. I just hope that popular awareness campaigns like Movember can get people talking and taking action.”
Two of the biggest ‘men only’ killers are prostate and testicular cancer but, said Mr Doherty, who practices at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, both are very treatable if they are diagnosed early.
“The key to successful treatment really is early diagnosis and that is down to men facing up to the fact that they might have a problem and seeking medical help as soon as possible,” he explained.
“Campaigns such as Movember and Men United do great work getting the ‘conversations’ started but, in the end, it is down to the individuals to take action and make that appointment with their GP.”
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men with over 41,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK every year, claiming approximately 10,500 lives while around 2,300 cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed annually.
Men over 50 years of age are most likely to develop prostate cancer whereas it is men aged from 25 to 49 who are most at risk from testicular cancer.
Mr Shankar Chandrasekharan, also a urology consultant at Spire Parkway added: “There are certain signs that should raise alarm bell around prostate cancer. These include difficulty passing urine or passing urine more frequently than usual, especially at night. Also the feeling of not completely emptying your bladder or having to rush to the toilet to pass urine.
“However, my advice is not to wait for symptoms but to go and get yourself checked out once you reach 50. It’s a simple examination that could be followed by a blood test – there is no need to be frightened or embarrassed.”
Symptoms for testicular cancer include swelling or a lump in a testicle, which is usually painless but can become painful as it increases in size or a dull ache or pain, or heaviness in the scrotum.
“Once again men seem to find it difficult to discuss this with others but swift action really can save lives. Don’t wait until it becomes painful, act as soon as you discover a lump, it really can mean the difference between successful and non-successful treatment,” he said.