MEN are being encouraged to be more aware of their health this month.
November is National Men’s Health Awareness month and the clinical lead at the minor injuries unit at St Mary’s Treatment Centre, in Milton, is calling on them to look out for signs that something could be wrong.
Mark Friend wants men to think more about their own health, not just for themselves but for their families.
He said: ‘Men often go into denial when we spot a problem. We still carry the stiff-upper-lip notion of getting on with things.
‘We tell ourselves it will go away, or it is nothing to worry about.
‘I suspect embarrassment and vulnerability also play a role. The thing men need to understand is that the largest health threats to us actually have great treatment success rates, if they are detected at an early stage.
‘That means the responsibility for spotting the signs early is up to each of us.’
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, accounting for 26 per cent of cases in the UK.
Cancer Research UK estimates one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
There are early warning signs including pain during urination; difficulty starting or stopping urinating; getting up more often at night to use the toilet, loss of bladder control or blood in urine.
Mark added: ‘You must be vigilant – it is most important to be aware that although these are signs of prostate cancer they may be caused by other conditions and not necessarily cancer.’
Mark said men need to get better at making regular checks of themselves, like women do.
‘Due to successful public education campaigns around breast cancer, women have been much better than us at taking on the message of regularly examining themselves to detect early changes,’ he said. ‘I know some men have concerns about telling anyone about any health matters below the belt but it is unlikely to be anything their doctor hasn’t seen before.’
Women are also being asked to keep an eye for symptoms or warning signs in their partner’s health.
Penny Daniels, the hospital director at St Mary’s Treatment Centre, said if women are asking themselves questions about their partner’s health, they need to raise concerns.
n Have you noticed your partner making frequent visits to the toilet at night?
n Have you noticed their belt is tighter or their clothes looser?
n Do they seem to have a shortness of breath after carrying out normal activities?
Penny said: ‘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.’