Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and men’s suicide.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer for men. The risk of getting prostate cancer during a lifetime is approximately 15 %. The risk of dying from prostate cancer is approximately 3% – however, most people who get the disease do not die from it.
The causes of prostate cancer are not known, but correlations have been found with age, heredity, hormones, diet and level of physical activity. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the prostate cancer cases are related to heredity.
In many cases, prostate cancer does not produce apparent symptoms in the early stages of the disease. The most common symptoms are:
- Difficulty urinating; frequent urination, difficulty in emptying the bladder properly, difficulty in getting started urinating or sudden loss of ability to empty the bladder.
- Blood in the urine.
- Fatigue and weight loss are late symptoms.
- For some people, the first symptoms may be due to the spread of the disease. The symptoms will then usually come from the skeleton in the form of pain.
How to diagnose
There is no simple, definitive test for prostate cancer. Your doctor will assess the risk of having prostate cancer based on a number of factors; symptoms, PSA level and the results of your prostate examination, as well as age and family history.
- PSA (prostate specific antigen): blood test
- Urinalysis: check for blood or signs of infection.
- Physical examination of your prostate:
- The doctor may then get an impression of the size and shape of the gland, tumors can sometimes feel like hard nodules in the gland.
If the examinations described above creates suspicion of prostate cancer, the patient will be referred to a specialist for further examinations including biopsy and imaging diagnostics.
Should you check your PSA levels?
Based on current knowledge, routine PSA measurements at general health examinations of healthy men are not recommended by the Norwegian health authorities and professionals. This is because it has not been proven that the benefits will outweigh the risks.
The exceptions are:
- If there is an accumulation of breast cancer, ovary cancer of prostate cancer in the family
- If you have three or more close relatives with prostate cancer (regardless of age) or you have two close relatives with prostate cancer under 60 years of age.
Some men would like to take the PSA test regardless. In these cases it is important to be aware of the limitations of the test, and also of all the worries and health problems an elevated test result can cause.
Anyone, regardless of age, can get mental health problems. Many men find it difficult to talk about their struggles and they avoid seeking help when they need it, despite the detrimental effect this can lead to. It is important to be proactive when it comes to mental health. Be aware of the common risk factors and symptoms and stay in touch with friends and family.
- Previous mental health problems in the family or own background
- Drugs and alcohol use
- Serious illness
- Isolation or loneliness
- Unemployment, homelessness, conflict or other stressful life situation
If you or someone you know is at risk, it is important that you talk to someone. Contact your GP/doctor, occupational health service or other mental health services/professionals available.
To read more and learn how you can engage go to: no.movember.com/en/ The information is in English