Movember – Prostate, Testicular Cancer and Mens Mental Health Awareness


At this time of year, you may not recognise the man in your life. The man who you knew and loved in October is starting to be taken over by a man who vaguely resembles that person. My Husband has been replaced by a Mexican and our Deputy Managing Director is a dead ringer for the Construction worker from the Village People. Our IT Manager’s moustache must still be buffering as it hasn’t arrived yet…..

I am of course referring to Movemeber, a clever play on the words Moustache and November, the month when 1000’s of men grow or attempt to grow a ‘tash to raise awareness and funding for prostate and testicular cancer and men’s mental health.

A quote from the Movember Foundation “Using moustaches as a catalyst, the idea is to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to learn and talk about their health and take action when needed.”


    Facts! The average life expectancy for men in the UK is almost four years less than women.
    24% of all deaths in the UK could potentially be avoided1 in 4 men will experience a mental health problem each year.
    1-8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. The risk increases with age.
    You are 2 x more likely to develop prostate cancer if your Dad or Brother were diagnosed with it before the age of 60.
    There is an increased risk if you are from Black African or Afro Caribbean ethnicity

It is a fact that men have the ability to close their ears internally, women, you have probably noticed this at some point when you are speaking to them? They also do this when the subject of men’s health issues are brought up. They are less likely to discuss their health problems or worries and are sometimes reluctant to see a GP as they are concerned about any treatment that may be needed.

What is the prostate?

It is a gland which produces fluid which protects and enriches sperm. It’s shaped like a doughnut and surrounds the ureatha, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out.

What are the symptoms?

The majority of early diseases have no symptoms; if the disease has developed there may be some or all of the following:

    Slow flow when having a wee, or going a lot or more of an urgency
    Blood in the wee or semen
    An inability to get an erection or an erection is painful

These symptoms may not mean that you do have prostate cancer but if you do experience any of the above then it would be sensible to have a chat with your GP.

Unfortunately, my Father in Law was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier on this year. Him, being a man had been experiencing symptoms for nearly a year but didn’t do anything about it. He happened to be listening to a radio show who were talking about the prostate and mentioned the same symptoms as he was having: he needed to go to the loo all the time and it was urgent! Thankfully, he went to his GP (probably dragged there by my Mother in Law if truth be told) and had a few tests which led to an MRI scan. The results weren’t as good as they could have been and he had his prostate removed in June, because he had left it so long it resulted in a bigger operation than it could have been. But, I am happy to say he is recovering really well. I measure his recovery by the amount of bad jokes he makes: day 1 of the op’ – no jokes, day 2 – no jokes, day 3, a couple, day 4- they’re back!!! (Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing actually!) In September he was given the all clear which is fantastic!

My husband had a test to see if he was OK, no not THAT test, he was bracing himself for the  physical examination, DRE, Digital Rectal Examination or as it’s otherwise known;  FUTB Finger Up The Bum! The reason for this test is so that the GP can feel if the prostate is enlarged or if there are any irregularities on there but, he didn’t have it, he had a simple blood test which looks for a presence of a protein specifically produced by the prostate called Prostate Specific Antigen. Thankfully it was clear.

Don’t be put off because you are worried about THAT test, not everyone needs it.

My good friend Keith has also had his prostate removed. Unfortunately his family history put him at high risk; his Brother had prostate cancer so all of the siblings were offered a test. Keith’s test proved positive, he had no symptoms and he was told that it was very early stages. He was given the choice of leaving it alone and having regular checks as this is a slow developing form of cancer or having it removed. He opted for the second choice and had the operation in September and is now making a great recovery, he had even been back to work a couple of days a week and he has just been given the great news that he is clear! Woo hoo!

Early intervention is the key, the quicker the diagnosis the better the outcome, don’t stick your head in the sand, it’s not going to go away, speak to your GP, the earlier you go the better.

Testicular Cancer

This is most common form of cancer in men aged 25-49. In 2011 2,200 men in the UK were diagnosed but the survival rate has risen to 95%!

To me, being a female with my observation skills, I would say that testicular cancer must have the earliest detection rate of all cancers; let’s face it; men are always rummaging around down there. Surely even the growth of a new hair will be noticed straight away the amount of time men spend moving the furniture around during the day?!!

While you’re down there check for the following:

    A small hard lump
    Change in size or shape of your testicle
    A dull ache in your testicle or lower abdomen
    Heaviness in your Scutum
    Sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum

There are no links between injury to the testis, sports strains, hot baths or tight pants! Another good friend had what he thought was an injury from football but he sensibly went to the GP and had it checked out, it turned out it was testicular cancer but, after having treatment he has been given the all clear, in fact he is throwing a party tonight to celebrate; looking forward to it David!

The next time the women in your life give you a funny look when you stuff your hands down your trousers you can simply say that you are carrying out an important self –examination!

Fund raising event

Each year, I invite all men who have grown a wonderful moustache to attend two charity fitness sessions to help raise money. Women are welcome too, if you can grow your own ‘tash fantastic! But if not, stick one on or draw it!

This year’s sessions are on Monday 24th November at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, studio 1. 6.00pm – 7.00pm , Strength and Toning and 7.00 – 8.00pm High Intensity. Donations will be welcome and paid to the charity. Call 01438 242605 to book.

Remember, there are other reasons why you could have these symptoms, it’s not always bad news but it is best to get it checked, don’t die of embarrassment.

If you need more information regarding any of the health issues google the Movember Foundation, there is loads of information on there and links to experts and health tips.

I for one am looking forward to December when I don’t feel like I’m kissing a broom!

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