Professor Michael Herbst from CANSA shares four tips to help your partner, son or father prevent prostate cancer.
It’s true that most men don’t like to visit the doctor or have regular check-ups. But when it comes to preventing or fighting cancer, early detection is key.
Prostate cancer affects one in ever 27 men, and testicular cancer is known to affect boys as young as 15, so it’s important to encourage the men in your life to have regular check-ups.
- Keep an eye on him. While most men prefer not to “make a fuss” about their aches and pains, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for – if you’ve noticed that he’s urinating more frequently than usual (especially at night), or he’s been complaining of swelling in the legs or sharp pains in the pelvic area, encourage him to see a doctor and get tested immediately.
- Make the call. If he just “can’t seem to get round to it”, you could offer to make the appointment for him. Remember that a touch of sensitivity goes a long way, too – for men of 40 and over, who are most at risk of developing prostate cancer, having to face the notorious digital rectal exam (DRE) strikes fear into the heart of even the bravest soul. You could also offer to tag along to the appointment for extra support.
- Get dad involved. Reminding your teenage son to check his testicles for lumps and swelling as he gets into the shower every morning is just plain embarrassing, mom. Rather rope in dad to have “the talk” about testicular self-examinations on a regular basis. Testicular cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men between the ages of 20 and 39, but has been found in teenage boys as young as 15 – it’s important that they are aware of the risks, and how to identify symptoms.
- Talk about it. Cancer is no longer spoken about in hushed tones – it’s a disease being fought across SA through impactful campaigning. The men in your life should be aware of the facts: cancer is not a death sentence and can be treated successfully if caught early enough. Make the effort to educate yourself and your family about the risks of cancer.
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