You’ve probably heard of Movember and/or No-Shave November. Every November, men around the globe let their facial hair grow, but did you know that both are social movements and organizations intended to increase awareness and raise money for men’s health issues? It’s true. No-Shave November was founded by the Hill family whose husband and father, Matthew Hill, died from colon cancer in 2007. It focuses solely on cancer awareness and cancer prevention. Movember (a combination of moustache and November) originated in Australia and focuses on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and colon cancer research, mental health and suicide prevention, parenting and general health. Both Movember and No-Shave November are amazing organizations that have raised awareness and millions of dollars for health issues that affect men. Because we deal with these health issues every day at KCUC, we want to take a minute to raise awareness as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Men’s Health Problems
Here’s the thing. The top threats to men’s health aren’t secrets: they’re known, common, and often preventable. To help raise awareness for men’s health issues that we see daily at Kansas City Urology Care, here is a list of the top killers related to urology:
Prostate Cancer: A Leading Cancer for Men
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men after skin cancer. Most cancers found in this walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder and produces fluid for semen, are slow-growing cancers. But some types are more aggressive. Symptoms include bone pain, compression of the spine, painful urination or ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and blood in the urine or semen. Screening tests help find the disease early. Screening for prostate cancer requires a digital rectal exam and a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA). Screening is recommended for men who are between 55 and 69 years old, men who are African American, and men who have a family history of prostate cancer.
Testicular Cancer: Common in Younger Men but Highly Curable
This is an uncommon cancer usually seen in men between the ages of 20 and 54. Knowing the signs will improve the likelihood of detecting it in its earliest stages, when more treatment options are generally available. This is especially important because testicular cancer is usually considered to be highly curable. Symptoms include a painless lump, enlargement of one or both testes, pain or heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache or pressure in the groin, abdomen or low back, a general feeling of overall weakness, including unexplained fatigue, fever, sweating, coughing, shortness of breath or mild chest pains, a headache and confusion. Testicular exams are typically part of a man’s routine check-up. It’s a good idea to do self-exams for lumps, bumps, or changes in the testes’ size or shape.
Colorectal Cancer: Get Regular Colonoscopies
Most colon cancers develop from growths called polyps on the inner surface of the colon. Finding and removing colon polyps before they turn cancerous is key. Symptoms include: a persistent change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, blood in your stool or rectal bleeding, weakness/fatigue, abdominal pain such as cramps or gas, a feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely, unexplained weight loss, and vomiting. A colonoscopy is the most recommended procedure to screen for colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years beginning at the age of 50. If there is a family history, you should begin being tested before age 45.
Erectile Dysfunction: A Common Health Problem in Men
Erectile dysfunction is most often caused by atherosclerosis – the same process that causes heart attacks and strokes. If you have ED frequently, it’s a sign that blood vessels throughout your body are not healthy. That’s why doctors consider erectile dysfunction an early warning sign for cardiovascular disease. Treatments make a fulfilling sex life possible, but they don’t cure the cardiovascular condition. If you have erectile dysfunction, see your doctor, and ask if more than your sex life is at risk.
Cancer – Not by the Hair of Your Chinny Chin Chin
Movember and No-Shave November are great ways to start the slightly awkward conversations about men’s health. If wearing a mustache or beard for the month of November helps you have these conversations with friends and family members, by all means, grow your hair and talk it up! You may save someone close to you.