The Movember Foundation is a charity operating in 20 different countries. The aim of the Foundation is to make a difference for men's health – in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
One of the Movember Foundations main fundraising events occurs during the month of November. Men are encouraged to grow a moustache, discuss the campaign with men and hopefully increase health promotion in their friends and family. The moustache may be wild and quirky or simple and conservative! It’s the effort that’s appreciated.
Men die nearly 6 years earlier than women. There are many factors which can cause this, but the Movember campaign highlights how health awareness, early detection of symptoms and prompt attendance to your doctor can improve men’s health outcomes.
Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That is one man every minute.
As a Consultant Urologist I deal with 2 of the main medical conditions involved in the campaign.
Prostate cancer is the second commonest cancer in men. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer throughout their lifetime. 9 out of 10 men survive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, as compared to 6 out of 10 men 20 years ago. Globally 5.6 million men have prostate cancer. Globally, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.
The prostate gland is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It is part of the reproductive/ sexual system in a man. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube men urinate and ejaculate through. The main function is to make prostate fluid which helps sperm survive.
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.
Detecting prostate cancer can be difficult. Frequently signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up. Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
Signs and symptoms may include difficulty passing urine, blood in urine or semen, frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
It is recommended that men have a prostate check with their GP from the age of 50 years onwards. If you have a family history of prostate cancer or are African American it is recommended to start checks from age 45 years onwards.
In Ireland, testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men. Testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer and can be effectively treated, and often cured, if diagnosed and treated early. From the onset of puberty onwards a man should examine the testicles carefully. If a lump, bump or anything different to prior examinations is found, prompt attendance to your doctor is recommended. The Movember website gives a good guide to men as to how they should examine their testicles.
The bottom line from the Movember Foundation campaign is that men should be health aware, don’t be afraid of speaking about health matters and definitely don’t delay attending your doctor if you think you have a problem. It is always better to speak up and get checked out.
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