Movember is a leading charity that focuses on men’s mental and physical health by raising awareness specifically on areas that directly affect men – prostate and testicular cancer and suicide prevention. November is therefore the month that men with ability to grow a moustache grow one to raise awareness and money for charity. Inspired by the latest @TheGlowDocs podcast episode titled “Men Get Cancer Too”, it sparked a thought in me to also share and highlight the importance of men taking better care of themselves.
With 80% of men preferring to endure pain than actually seek help, men are less likely than women to visit their GP or visit a pharmacy. In people aged 20-40 – women visited their GP twice as often than men (1). There has been an increasing number of life threatening health scares for men in recent years. From testicular cancer to prostate cancer and heart issues, men’s health has not been a priority for themselves for a long time.
There are a myriad of reasons why men don’t pay attention to their health:
Many men don’t want to be vulnerable with anyone *toxic masculinity enters the group chat*, talk less with their GP, so they feel its best to just suck it up and deal with it the best way they know how. By doing nothing.
Fear of the unknown! Men prefer to not know if something is wrong by keeping their focus on something else. “Ignorance is bliss” – it allows you to go about your business.
A lot of men don’t want to burden other people down by sharing their issues and what they’re going through. They feel it best to just focus on other things and just get on with it, whilst something dangerous could be building up internally.
Black men are 2.5x more likely to get prostate cancer than their white counterparts.(2)
In the UK, 1 in 4 black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men, who have a 1 in 8 chance of getting prostate cancer. (3)
Men between the ages of 15 and 49 are most likely affected by testicular cancer. It is however a relatively rare type of cancer, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men. For reasons that are unclear, white men have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups. (4)
If you know me you’ll know that I urinate OFTEN…too often! It felt like it was getting increasingly more regular, which therefore increased my anxiety of what it could mean. In recent years there have been many publications and awareness raised of Black men being more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, with symptoms being needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night and suddenly, which stuck out to me the most (even though that was the only “symptom” I had). My GP and I know each other very well as I’m a regular face, so over time I raised it to him and he said he can do simple prostate check. Once I found out what that entailed I said NOPE! But this issue continued, which I felt was a problem, I returned to my GP and asked for the check. I didn’t even get a chance to THINK before my GP *did* the test. I won’t lie to youuuuuuu… TIL THIS DAY I STILL GET SHIVERS but he told me I’m perfectly fine. Yes, it was uncomfortable but it was needed and I left knowing that it was just that I drink too much water. But the “factors” were stacked against me; Black, male, young adult and urinating very frequently. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.
Here are key reasons why we as men should think and care for ourselves:
1. Long life
We all want to live a long and healthy life. To see our family, laugh with our friends, travel the world and have a successful professional life. One of the key ways of achieving this is by being healthy enough and to live long enough to experience it. Not all diagnosis’ have a death date; early detection and medical assistance make a world of difference.
2. Happiness/good mental health
Knowing that you have been checked and given the ‘all clear’ can remove any type of fear or anxiety about your health and future, with the hope of happiness and positivity that will gear you forward to living a healthy and positive life.
3. Raise awareness
Men tend to listen mostly to other men, so by sharing your story and normalising the benefits of getting checked regularly by your GP or at least having a health screen to ensure that all is fine can only benefit other men and their communities.
For more information, please check out prostatecanceruk.org and uk.movember.com.
If you have any questions or want further assistance, please contact your GP.
- “Key Data: Understanding of Health and Access to Services” https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-understanding-health-and-access-services
- “Movember: Testicular Cancer” https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/testicular-cancer
- “Prostate Cancer UK: Are You At Risk” https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/are-you-at-risk/black-men-and-prostate-cancer
- NHS: Testicular Cancer” https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicular-cancer/