November is Men’s Health Awareness Month and at Answer Cancer we want encourage all men to have conversations about their health. This can be with friends, family or their GP. It’s time to break the silence that is meaning that some men ignore their symptoms!
Know the symptoms and seek help if you find anything unusual for you!
Make sure you know the possibly signs of cancer and check yourself regularly. These could include:
- Any changes in bowel habit, e.g. going more often or loose stools
- Unexplained weight-loss or tiredness
- Blood in your stool or urine
- A persistent cough
- Any new lumps or swelling
- Unexplained pain or discomfort
These symptoms could be the result of lots of different conditions, but it’s important that you get them checked out as soon as possible. If it is cancer, it’s vital that you get diagnosed as early as possible as this usually makes it easier to treat and increases your chances.
Take Part in Bowel Screening & Health Checks
Bowel Screening is offered to everyone aged 60-74. However, this is gradually being changed to start at aged 50. You’ll receive a special kit in the post which you then complete in the privacy of your own home. A small sample of poo is collected and sent off to be checked for tiny amounts of blood. If you need a replacement kit or have any questions, please call: 0800 707 6060.
Some Trans Men may also be eligible for breast & cervical cancer screening, depending on what gender confirmation surgery they have received. However, if the gender marker on their records has been changed they may need to request this, so please speak to your GP or other health professional.
You should also be invited for an NHS Health Check every 5 years from 40-74. These are like an MOT for your car and can help identify possible issues before they get too serious, such as high blood-pressure or cholesterol. You may also be given lifestyle advice to help keep you healthy.
It’s really important that you take part in these and any other checks you are invited to by your GP! They will protect you from serious illness by picking up issues before they develop!
Keep the Conversation Going
Cancer affects everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality or background. However, because of a combination of lifestyle and genetics, cancers which affect everyone such as lung, bowel and kidney are more prevalent amongst men than women. We also know that some men are more reluctant to seek help or talk about their illnesses, resulting in their cancers getting diagnosed at a later stage.
That’s why it’s so important that we keep having conversations about cancer and men’s health; share information where possible for example via social media or via WhatsApp; and get involved in activities in our local community.
To help you share the word during Men’s Health Awareness Month we have prepared some resources for you to use on social media or WhatsApp.
You can also find quizzes, games and ideas in our Bowel Screening Toolkit.
There is an online Bowel Screening Quiz you can complete or send to your friends & family.
Finally, we are running a special face-to-face Men’s Health event, ‘For The Lads’, taking place on Tuesday 22nd November from 9.30am. This session will cover bowel & prostate cancer including signs & symptoms and the importance of early detection. Please book your place now!