Movember and Men’s Health
During November, thousands of Australians gather to support Movember. Whether it’s growing a moustache, getting active or hosting events, Movember looks to educate and help research in the aim to tackle men’s health including mental health, suicide prevention and prostate and testicular cancer.
Prostate cancer in Australia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males especially 65 years and older. 1 in 6 males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85. It is estimated that in 2019, 19,508 new cases of prostate cancer will be identified and diagnosed.
So, what should you look for?
It is recommended that at the age of 50 years, you should be getting your prostate checked. Luckily, it’s as simple as a routine blood test. However, if there is a family history of prostate cancer it’s advised to get tested earlier, around 40-45 years old.
Symptoms can include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Pain on urination or blood in urine
- Weak stream/ struggle to fully empty bladder.
Prostate cancer is estimated to be the cause of death in 3,306 males in 2019; making it the 2nd most common cancer death for males in Australia after lung cancer.
Testicular cancer, unlike prostate is more common in young men (18-39 years old), being the 2nd most common cancer for this age group. Testicular cancer is expected in 2019 to be diagnosed in 852 males, with 23 males estimated to die due to testicular cancer during this year.
The most confronting aspect of testicular cancer is that it can manifest with no symptoms or pain at all, however the most common symptom is painless swelling or a lump in the testicle.
Symptoms can include:
- Heaviness, swelling, lumps in the testicles
- Changes in size or shape of the testicle
- Pain or aching in the lower abdomen, testicle or scrotum.
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE RATES
1 in 8 men will experience depression; and 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety in some stage of their lives. Depression and anxiety contribute on average to 6 out of every 8 male suicides every single day in Australia.
Unfortunately for men, common symptoms are missed or pushed to the side; and help is not sought. It is common to have a bad day, to be sad and to feel down. It is also common to have heightened days of anxiousness, where work schedules may be stressful or increased nerves when public speaking. However, anxiety and depression are prolonged feelings of these symptoms especially when the stressful or emotional stimulus/situation is removed, resolved or overcome.
Signs and symptoms of depression and what to look out for:
- Sadness, miserable, angry or irritable for more than two weeks
- Tiredness all the time, unexplained changes in weight (gaining or losing)
- Loss of enjoyment/ love for activities that consume your life – sports, exercise etc.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety and what to look out for:
- Fear or stress that something horrible is going to happen
- Multiple stressors cause a snowball effect, causing stress/nervousness/fear in everyday situations, some as simple as walking into work
- An intense emotional response to situations, which disrupts your work, lifestyle activities and sleep to the point that you will avoid situations that cause heightened anxiousness.
Osteopaths are trained health care practitioners and have an obligation to ask relevant questions of your medical, physical and mental health. We are trained to recognise signs and symptoms, as well as possible red flags for such conditions as mental illness and cancers. We can then help you, in referring or advising you for further investigation of the possible conditions through your GP.
If any of the above symptoms relate to you, or someone you know, please seek some advice. There are many great forums for mental health, and some easy ways to get cancer tested by seeing a GP.
And even better, why not contribute to a business or a mate who may be raising money for Movemeber and help contribute to the fantastic research around cancer and mental health/suicide rates in men around Australia.
For more information:
Movember – https://au.movember.com/
Beyond Blue – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Headspace – https://headspace.org.au/
RUOK – https://www.ruok.org.au/
Cancer Council – https://www.cancer.org.au/