This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions.
Move over November and hello Movember!! It’s that time of year again when men stop shaving and resemble their Edwardian forbearers. From a jovial chat between two Australian friends about bringing the moustache back into fashion while raising a few bucks to fight prostate cancer, to the global phenomenon it is now, Movember.
is the time when the spotlight falls on men’s health. This month specifically raises awareness and support of those facing prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues.
I am sure you have heard the old adage that “men die before women,” well, that may be true, research suggests that on average, men are likely to die 4.5 years earlier than women.
1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime with almost 12,000 of those men dying of prostate cancer every year in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer UK states that “It has become the most common cancer in men and is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all in the UK by 2030”.
The prostate is a walnut sized gland within the male body, between the bladder and the penis which produces fluid to help move sperm as semen. When cells within the prostate begin to grow abnormally, prostate cancer can develop. Men affected tend to be older, more often black and have a familial history of the disease.
Signs and Symptoms
Urgency – needing to rush to the toilet
Passing urine more often
Hesitancy – not being able to start passing urine right away
Straining while trying to pass urine or taking a long time to wee
Having a weak stream or flow of urine
Feeling that you are not emptying your bladder
Blood in your urine or semen
What to do
But don’t panic just yet, these symptoms do not have to mean you have prostate cancer, as men get older their prostate gland can get bigger due to a non-cancerous disorder and this alone can cause many of these issues.
More serious signs to be aware of, would be rapid, unexplained weight loss, a reduced appetite, back and/or testicular pain.
It goes without saying that any changes to how or when you pass urine should be reported to a GP who can perform some simple tests and an examination to diagnose any problem.
Unlike prostate cancer, testicular cancer is an uncommon cancer, being responsible for only 1% of all cancers affecting men. However, it is the most prevalent cancer affecting younger men. Approximately 2,500 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer in the UK every year and these men tend to be age 15 to 49 years of age. For reasons which are unknown, testicular cancer affects more white men and the cases have been doubling each year since the mid-1970’s.
Signs and Symptoms
A swelling or bulge in either testicle.
A sense of heaviness in the scrotum.
A dull aching in the lower abdomen or groin.
Unexpected swelling in the scrotum.
Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.
Increase or sensitivity of the chest tissue.
What to do
Getting to know what your normal is with regards to the size, shape and weight of your testicles and scrotal sack is the first step to maintaining your health. Regular examination of the scrotum and testicles can help find abnormalities and changes which occur.
Testicular Self Examination
Testicular self-examination nee not take long, about one minute and men and boys are encouraged to do it about once every four weeks. Make it part of your routine; pick a day monthly to perform your self-examination and stick to it. If you notice any lumps or changes to size or shape of our testicles or scrotum, get it checked out immediately.
Performing a Testicular self-examination
The following steps will help you perform a testicular self-examination: –
- With the penis held out of the way, inspect each testicle individually.
- Using the thumb and fingers of both hands, gently roll the testicle between the fingers.
- Look and feel for any hard lumps or bumps (smooth rounded nodules) or any change to size, shape, and texture of the testicles.
A normal testicle has a small, coiled tube (the epididymis) toward the upper or middle outer side, blood vessels and supportive tissue – these can be confused with abnormalities and lumps at fort, so it is important to become familiar with your own body. And it is perfectly normal to have one testicle slightly bigger, or one that hangs lower than the other.
Regular self-check can save your life so make it a habit.
Prostate Cancer UK – https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer#:~:text=Across%20the%20UK&text=More%20than%2052%2C000%20men%20are,prostate%20cancer%20in%20their%20lifetime.
Cancer Research UK – https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/prostate-cancer/risks-causes
Cancer Treatment Centres for America – https://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/symptoms
Movember – https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/general