As we approach the end of November, which is colloquially known as Movember, it is important to raise awareness of the critical issues surrounding men's health. Beyond the trendy moustaches, there is a profound message that resonates with men globally, transcending borders and cultures.
It's time we discussed these often-silenced topics that affect men's well-being, especially in regions like Africa where they are often shamefully shunned.
Prostate Cancer: The Silent Battle
Prostate cancer affects the lives of 1 in 8 men globally, making it a substantial health concern. Remarkably, as reported by Globocan, it holds the top spot among cancers affecting men in Africa. The cancer affects the prostate which is a pea-sized gland that is found next to the bladder in men and produces the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
The condition often occurs in older men, particularly those over the age of 50. The risk is increased in men with a habit of smoking, as well as those with a family history of cancer.
Breaking the Silence: Overcoming Stigma and Promoting Early Detection
Would you know it if you had the disease? Oh yes, the symptoms are quite evident. With prostate cancer, the gland enlarges causing a disruption in the flow of urine. A person thus experiences distressing symptoms such as:
Straining when passing urine
Difficulty in maintaining a steady flow of urine
A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
The good news is that it can be treated if and when it is detected early. However, the stigma and fear surrounding regular check-ups often stop men from getting timely medical help. In Africa, cultural beliefs about masculinity can make this problem even worse. This is due to poor health-seeking behaviour, which, when compounded with the negative view of the procedure involved in the diagnosis, leads to poor outcomes.
Gentlemen, as the dust settles on the month of November paving the way for the festivities of the holiday season, let's carry forward the awareness cultivated during this month. In the spirit of self-care, remember that prostate cancer is a manageable condition, and the most valuable present you can bestow upon yourself is the gift of proactive health management. Take charge by ensuring regular screenings become a part of your personal health routine.