The arrival of November means several things.
Halloween is done, so you probably have a wealth of candy to munch through, and Christmas is fast approaching so everything starts to bear a festive ring.
November also means Movember – the time of year when the world discusses men’s mental and physical health, reminding all men of the importance of early detection and increased awareness of good health and wellbeing.
Originally, the campaign urged men to grow a moustache – often to questionable results – in a bid to raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer.
Since setting up in 2003 though, the Movember Foundation has widened its focus and these days leads with the fact that too many men are dying too young.
As well as testicular and prostate cancer, it also highlights mental health and suicide prevention, and by 2030, the group hopes to cut the number of men dying prematurely by a quarter.
Fuel Card Services values the health and wellbeing of its workforce, so naturally, Movember is a time when we are keen to push these positive messages.
Considering how important early detection can be in tackling these three core health concerns, Fuel Card Services has outlined a number of facts and early detection hints.
What is it?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men, occurring in the prostate – a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need little to no treatment, whilst other types can be aggressive and spread quickly.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Usually, early-stage prostate cancer is difficult to detect. Early on, the most effective way of detecting it is usually through a PSA test or screening.
However, later-stage symptoms and signs may include:
- Frequent urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder
- The urge to urinate frequently at night
- Blood in the urine or seminal fluid
- New onset of erectile dysfunction
- Pain or burning during urination
- Discomfort or pain when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate
How common is prostate cancer?
Roughly one in eight men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, according to Prostate Cancer UK.
What is it?
Cancer of the testicle is one of the less common cancers, usually affecting men aged between 15 and 49 years.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- A lump in one testis which may or may not be painful
- Sharp pain or a dull ache in the lower abdomen or scrotum
- A feeling often described as ‘heaviness’ in the scrotum
- Breast enlargement from hormonal effects
- Lower back pain due to the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes along the back
If testicular cancer spreads to other organs, these symptoms might occur:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood from metastatic spread to the lungs
- A lump in the neck due to metastases to the lymph nodes
How common is testicular cancer?
Around 2,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year.
Over a lifetime, the risk of developing testicular cancer is roughly one in 200, making it the 16th most common cancer amongst men.
Fortunately, it is highly treatable and usually curable, either through surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation.
Even in cases in which cancer has spread widely, chemotherapy offers a cure rate greater than 80 per cent.
Mental health and suicide prevention
In the UK, three in four suicides are by men, making suicide the biggest cause of death for British men under 35.
Untreated mental health conditions can carry a high risk of suicide amongst men. The distress experienced at these troubled times can distort thinking, making it harder to see possible solutions to problems or to connect with those who can offer support.
Causes of suicide
- Ongoing stressful situations, such as unemployment, relationship difficulties or health issues
- Previous family or personal history of mental illness
- Harmful drug and alcohol use
- Isolation or loneliness
What can you do?
Whether you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines and support groups can offer expert advice.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)
Fuel Card Services believes in looking after its employees, which includes a good work-life balance – find out more about a career with us at www.career4you.co.uk