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Men's Cancer Awareness

Monday, 2 November 2009

It's time for YOU men, or if you're a woman, for the man in your life, to listen up and pay attention. With an estimated 450,000 men not going for regular checkups, it's time for some education and awareness and today, we're joined by a medical panel of experts to take us through the commonest male cancers from symptom to treatment as well as tips on cancer prevention.

Throughout November, the Irish Cancer Society is promoting cancer awareness for men. Prevention and early detection are key, so today, our Men's Cancer Medical Panel will be giving us the run down on the commonest forms of cancer for men from prevention to symptom to treatment.

Throughout November, the Irish Cancer Society is promoting awareness of prevalent men's cancer. They aim to educate on prevention and early detection and encourage regular screenings with your GP. Reports in the last year said that up to 450,000 Irish men don't have regular health checkups

Our Medical Panel
Dr Philip MacMahon - GP
Ellie Ryan - Specialised Oncology Nurse, St. Vincent's Private Hospital
Norma Cronin - Health Promotion Manager, Irish Cancer Society

Dr. Philip will talk us through what he sees in his Surgery, and why he thinks men are not so forthcoming with their health issues.
Reports in the last year said that up to 450,000 Irish men don't have regular health checkups. Dr. Philip feels this figure is ever decreasing as more and more men become comfortable discussing their bodies and voicing concerns about any unusual changes. However there is always room for improvement.

Dr. Philip finds most men coming to him having examined their scrotal area and flagged some concern with an unusual lump or a change in what they are used to. Men should be aware of their bodies and if there are any changes to bowel or bladder movements, lumps or bruises that do not heal, to make an appointment with their GP - it could be nothing, but it is always better to know.

***NOTE: All of these symptoms below could also point to other health issues, not necessarily cancer, but it is always a good idea to get checked out.

Stat: There were 2407 new cases of prostate cancer in 2005 (NCRI 2005) which means that 1 in 11 Irish men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is the second most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. Although the number of men with this disease is large, the number expected to die is considerably smaller, since the majority diagnosed do not die of it.
Each year in Ireland however, over 500 men die from prostate cancer, usually some years after they were diagnosed.

Men who are over the age of 50 years, have a positive family history of prostate cancer, who have a high fat diet or who are classed as obese, should consult with their GP about the merits of screening. Screening involves a physical examination and blood test, which measures PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). Also any irregularities when peeing are signs to watch out for and inform your doctor of. If detected early, prostate cancer can be treated very successfully

Stat: With nearly 1300 instances in Ireland in 2005, bowel cancer is always a risk for men.

Screening for bowel cancer can work as a preventative tool as well as an early detection tool. Through the detection and removal of polyps the development of bowel cancer can be prevented. Men need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, in particular rectal bleeding or altered bowel habits.
Symptoms include irregular bowel movements that last more than a month, regular bloated feeling, pain or discomfort in the area, weight loss for no reason, increased tiredness or weakness. Men over the age of 40 years who have these symptoms should see their GP. Men can reduce their risk of developing bowel cancer by having a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables and by taking regular exercise.

Stat: Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged between 15 - 34 years.

Men should check their testicles at least one a month while in the bath or shower and get to know what is normal for them. Any abnormality should be discussed with a GP. Usually the lump is a cyst which is not part of the testicle at all . It is usually easy to reassure the patient but the patient will often have an Ultrasound (a form of Xray) to rule out more sinister complaints. Testicular cancer is very treatable and nearly always curable

Stat: Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in men in Ireland.

80-90% of skin cancers are caused by the 'ultraviolet' (UV) burning rays of the sun. Sun-bed use is also a significant risk factor. To prevent skin cancer, avoid over-exposure in the sun and do not use sun-beds. Look out for new lumps or growths, a sore that does not heal, scaling red areas which bleed easily or moles that change in shape, colour or size. Men should consult their GP is they have any of these symptoms. Skin cancer is one of the most easily preventable, detectable and treatable cancers

There are many ways, but the 'Big Five' are
. What you eat
. What you drink
. Whether you smoke
. How active you are
. How you look after yourself in the sun

Risk can be reduced further by
. Regular GP checkups
. Being educated to early signs and symptoms of ill health

Eat: Low saturated fat meals with plenty of fruit & veg.
Alcohol: Only drink 21 standard drinks per week, with some alcohol free days in between.
Smoking: Stop. There are no health benefits, plus you could be saving €2,080 per year if you're a 20 a day smoker!
Exercise: Are you getting at least 30 mins per day to keep your body healthy.
Burn: Avoid being sunburnt

If you have a history of cancer in your family or if you are over 60, your doctor may suggest regular screenings to catch potential problems. Most cancers can be successfully treated when they are caught early but prevention is always better than cure.

. Keep an eye on your body - any new strange lumps, bruises that do not heal or moles changing colour or size. Be aware of your testicles and check them for anything unusual.
. Get checked out if you experience the following for a couple of weeks - persistent cough, shortness of breath, persistent indigestion, weight loss for no reason, change in bowel or bladder habits.

Source: Thinkhouse PR Press Release

"Movember, the month formerly known as November, involves 'Mo Bros', with support from 'Mo Sistas', growing a Mo (Australian slang for Tache) throughout the month, to raise money for Action Prostate Cancer, an initiative of the Irish Cancer Society.
Mo Bros are asked to be clean shaven on Movember 1st and raise sponsorship for their Mo-mentous effort throughout the month whilst raising awareness of men's health issues. Mo Bros and Mo Sistas can register at as individuals or as a team and become citizens of Movember.
Last year, Movember's first in Ireland, over 1,700 Mo Bro's took part around the country, with the help of the Mo Sistas, and raised a phenomenal €370,000 over the month. In its first year of Mo-growing, Ireland surpassed all other countries with donations per capita, with the average individual donation totalling €213."