Movember - the worldwide moustache growing phenomena with comic appeal – returns this month with a serious message for men’s health.
Throughout November, men across the world are encouraged to grow moustaches to raise funds and bring attention to men’s health programmes.
This year’s theme is ‘Made in Movember’, but the mission remains the same; to save and improve the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
Local GP Dr Cathy Burton said: “We know men can be more reticent than women when it comes to talking about their physical or mental health issues, or seeking medical advice when they have concerns about their health. Movember is an important reminder that men shouldn’t ignore their health, and that by living a healthy lifestyle, along with regular self examination and seeking help early if they have concerns, is key to staying well.”
The campaign aims to raise awareness about pertinent men’s health issues, removing the stigma around seeking help for mental health issues, along with the importance of early identification and treatment for the two most common cancers in men, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK and 40,000 men are diagnosed every year. The majority of prostate cancers have no symptoms, but if you are experiencing any of the following it is important you seek medical attention:
• Urinary issues (slow flow, hesitancy, frequency, urgency)
• Blood in the urine or semen
• Reduced ability to get an erection
• Painful ejaculation
Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men aged between 24-49 in the UK. Men may experience few or no symptoms of testicular cancer, however important warning signs to watch for include:
• Swelling or a lump in either testicle (usually painless)
• A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
• Change in the size and shape of the testicles
• Aches or pain in the lower abdomen or groin
• A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
• Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
• Enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue
Testicular cancer is highly treatable with a very good cure rate (about 96%) if found and treated early.
Mental health problems in men can often go undetected or untreated. The reasons for this are numerous and complex but can often be attributed to a lack of awareness that there is a problem in the first place. Men may not be able to recognise or confidently articulate the signs and symptoms that they experience. There is additional pressure due to associated stigma (shame and embarrassment) preventing them from taking action and accessing mental health services. Mental health problems should not be ignored:
Additional support and information is available through:
· NHS Mental Health Services provides information on services available for anyone concerned with mental health problems.
· Mind provides information and support to make sure no has to face a mental health problem alone.
· Samaritans provides a 24-hour confidential service to discuss any difficult issues and find a way through the problems.
· Calm seeks to prevent male suicide offering support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis via the Calm helpline and website.
· Papyrus aims to reduce stigma associated with suicide and increase awareness of young suicide through telephone, SMS and email advice services.