Men's Health - Movember
Men, Grow Your ‘Stache And Look After Your Health
If you notice men sporting hairier lips in November, it isn’t to keep their faces warm. That’s the Movember Foundation at work raising awareness of men’s health. It’s up to all of us to help protect their health, and help men live longer, happier and healthier lives.
Like women, men face health challenges that are unique to them. During the month of November, men’s health is put in the foreground thanks to the Movember Foundation, a global movement committed to changing the face of men's health.
Movember offers these tips to protect men’s health, but they are good advice for everyone:
- Check in regularly with friends and family. Life’s responsibilities can take over, but remember to stay closely connected to the ones you love.
- Move – anytime, anyhow – just stay active. A walk, a bike ride, mowing the lawn – it all counts.
- Talk about the important stuff in life. Life can be challenging with new jobs, the birth of a child, financial troubles. Don’t keep it inside.
- Knowledge is power. Get familiar with your family history. You and your family members share genes, behaviours and environments that may affect your risk of developing health problems. Knowing the health challenges of other relatives can help you take the right preventative measures to stay healthy.
- If you notice something, do something. If something feels “off” to you, don’t wait for it to go away. Get it checked. Early detection is the most important factor in treating serious health issues.
The health issues affecting men
Let’s talk about the diseases that can afflict the male population: Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and Penile Cancer.
The most common diagnosed male cancer, prostate cancer will affect 1 in 8 Canadian men in their lifetime. On average, 11 Canadian men will die from prostate cancer every day.
Better news is the fact that prostate cancer deaths have been reduced by 40% over the past 20 years, due to improved testing and better treatment options. In most cases, screening and early detection are the key to successfully beating it.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It adds nutrients and fluid to sperm. Prostate cancer is a disease where the prostate cells abnormal growth and division, and no longer function as healthy cells. A cancerous prostate cell can invade other parts of the body.
Because prostate cancer is slow growing, some men can live for many years without knowing they have the disease. That’s why regular screening is so important. If left untreated prostate cancer may have serious consequences.
Who might be at risk?
Even though any man can develop prostate cancer, some are more at risk than others. You may be at risk if you:
Symptoms to watch for
Not all men experience symptoms of prostate cancer. Often signs of prostate cancer are detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.
However, you may experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might be indicators such as:
In 2015, it is estimated that 1,050 Canadian men were diagnosed with testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young Canadian men aged 15 - 29 years.
What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is a malignant tumour that begins in the cells of a testicle. A malignant tumour can spread - or metastasize - to other parts of the body.
Part of a man’s reproductive system, the testicles are two egg-shaped organs that are covered by a sac of skin called the scrotum. The scrotum hangs between the legs. The testicles produce sperm as well as the male hormone testosterone.
Cells in a testicle can change and grow abnormally. Changes to cells in a testicle can create precancerous conditions, which means that the cells have a higher chance of becoming cancer.
Who is at risk?
One of the main risk factors for testicular cancer is an undescended testicle. This is a condition that means one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. Males with this condition (called cryptorchidism) are several times more likely to get testicular cancer. For this reason, doctors will perform a surgical procedure known as orchiopexy to bring the testicle down into the scrotum, usually when the male child is younger.
Other risk factors include:
- Family history: While having a father or brother with testicular cancer increases your risk, only a small number of testicular cancers occur in families. Most men with testicular cancer have no family history of the disease.
- HIV infection: Men with the HIV virus, particularly those with AIDS, are at increased risk.
- Testicular cancer in one testicle: About 4% of men who have had cancer in one testicle will eventually develop it in the other.
- Ethnic origin: Caucasian men are up to five times more likely than black and Asian-American men to get testicular cancer. The risk is highest among men living in the United States and Europe, and lowest among men living in Africa or Asia.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer
Symptoms of testicular cancer usually start to become apparent once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues and structures. See your doctor immediately if you experience:
- A painless lump in the testicle
- Swelling that makes the testicle larger than usual
- Pain or dull ache in the testicle or scrotum
- “Heaviness” in the scrotum or abdomen
- Fluid buildup in the scrotum
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
- Pain in the back or abdomen
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Cough, sometimes with the presence of blood
- Chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling in the chest
- Fluid around the lungs
- Weight loss
- Breast soreness or growth
- Signs of puberty in boys at an earlier age such as the voice deepening, and growth of facial and body hair
Penile cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the penis. In 2010, 155 Canadian men were diagnosed with penile cancer. In 2011, 39 men died from the disease in Canada.
Who is at risk?
Men who were not circumcised at birth may have a higher risk of developing penile cancer. You may also be at risk if you:
- Are age 60 or older
- Have phimosis (A condition in which the foreskin cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis.)
- Have poor personal hygiene
- Have or had many sexual partners
- Are a smoker or use other tobacco products
Signs and symptoms
Check with your doctor if you have any of the following signs:
- Sores, discharge and bleeding from the penis
- Redness, irritation, or a sore on the penis
- A lump on the penis
In November, the moustache rules
During the month of November, you may notice that the moustache becomes more prevalent among the men in your circle. That’s Movember at work. The moustache is their ribbon. Men are encouraged to “grow your Mo” and raise funds for men’s health. If you want to get involved (ladies, you don’t have to grow a Mo), head over to ca.movember.com.
Let’s work together to help our men live longer, happier and healthier lives.