Make Valentine’s Day a time to think about men’s health
As the most romantic day of the year approaches, an expert in men’s health is urging partners everywhere to show their love by encouraging men to take care of their bodies.
Ade Adeniyi, consultant urological surgeon and medical director at Emerson Green NHS Treatment Centre, said: “It is a known fact that men’s life expectancy is seven years less than women’s. Although there are many factors in play I believe men’s approach to health screening, awareness and asking for help is a major contribution to the difference.
“Over the years, through constant advertisement, education and national screening programmes, women have developed excellent awareness of breast and cervical cancer. Early detection means a 95 per cent survival rate.
“Prostate and testicular cancers have equal survival rates when diagnosed early. Women know the impact screening has made to women’s healthcare and I would encourage them to take an active role in passing on that knowledge to loved ones.”
Ade’s top questions to ask yourself to help you monitor a loved one’s health
- Have you noticed your partner making frequent visits to the toilet at night? Prostate cancer presents itself as an obstruction and therefore the bladder is not completely emptied, resulting in the need to go sooner. Equally, a change in bowel habits can be signs of bowel cancer.
- Are you finding urine marks around the toilet rim? We have all experienced what happens to the stream from a garden hose when we disturb the flow with our thumb. The stream becomes a spray. This is the same with urine flow – an enlarged prostate can create the same interference.
- Have you noticed their belts tighter and their clothes looser? Unexpected weight loss, rather than any due to diet and exercise, can be a symptom of several ailments, including cancer. Linked with this can be a decrease in appetite and lack of enjoyment of food in general. It is often the loved ones who notice these signs.
- Do they seem to have a shortness of breath after carrying out normal activities? This may be due to a lack of fitness but can also be a sign of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in men. A persistent cough that will not go away may be accompanied by coughing up blood, so keep an eye on handkerchiefs or discarded tissues if you are concerned.
- Have they been lacking interest in things they usually enjoy, including sex? While women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety, 84 per cent of UK men say they bottle up their emotions, according to YouGov research to raise awareness for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), the male suicide prevention charity. Feeling empty, hopeless, irritable, anxious, or angry over several weeks are also tell-tale signs of depression in men, as is feeling very tired, sleeping too much or too little, and being unable to concentrate or remember details.
Ade added: “If you ask yourself these questions, and are concerned your partner is showing any of the symptoms, sit down with them and share your concerns. It may be that they are relieved at the chance to talk. If they do not open up, do not push it but reassure them that you are there for them and that getting medical advice may put all our minds at rest.
“The word cancer generates all sorts of images in our head. What is important and needs to be driven home is that most cancers are curable when caught early. The NHS needs your support to help men be aware, proactive and engaging with services early. I believe we can make a difference and help close that seven-year gap.
“I can give every assurance that, no matter how personal your problem feels, you will be treated with care, empathy and discretion by our colleagues in every branch of the NHS.”