Every November, mustaches become a fixture on faces across the country as part of a campaign to raise funds and awareness for health issues commonly impacting men, including mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
In Canada, the impact of these diseases is devastating.
Mental Health and Suicide
- Approximately 10 percent of Canadian men experience significant mental health challenges in their lifetime
- Approximately one million Canadian men suffer from major depression each year
- Men account for more than 75 percent of suicides in Canada
- The mortality rate due to suicide among men is three times the rate among women
- Prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Canada and the No. 1 cancer in men
- An average of 66 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer each day
- Testicular cancer is the most prevalent cancer in men aged 15 to 35
- 1 in 250 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in their lifetime
The good news? There is help out there, and when caught and treated early, both prostate and testicular cancer are highly curable.
What Can You Do?
Aside from growing your best Tom Selleck ‘stache to raise awareness, you can take control of your health by understanding the risks and warning signs of these common health issues.
Know your risk
When it comes to mental health and both prostate and testicular cancers, family history matters. Though not everyone with a family history of a particular disease will develop it, it does increase your risk.
According to the Mayo Clinic, mental health illnesses are more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. A person who has a relative with depression is almost five times more likely to develop depression compared to someone with no family history.
For prostate and testicular cancers, nearly half of testicular cancer risk comes from the DNA passed down from your parents, while having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles your risk of developing the disease.
It’s important to understand your family’s medical background and talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your risk.
Whether or not you have a family history of diseases, regular checkups are imperative.
For prostate cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends the following:
- Men with an average risk: consider testing from age 50
- Men with higher risk (black men, men with family history): consider testing from age 45
For testicular cancer, it’s recommended that men aged 15-55 perform monthly self-examinations. This is best done following a warm shower — if you notice anything unusual including lumps or swelling, contact your doctor right away.
When it comes to mental health, it’s important to remember to ask for help when you need it. The societal perception that men must be strong prevents too many from seeking help, forcing them to suffer in silence. VirtualCare is a great option if you’re hesitant to reach out — it provides access to a qualified healthcare provider from the comfort of home.
Recognize the warning signs
Regular checkups are important, but it’s equally important to remain vigilant about the warning signs of these diseases, as early detection and treatment is often crucial to a successful outcome. Early intervention of depression helps promote remission and prevent relapse, while testicular cancer is 98 percent curable when caught early, and prostate cancer 90 percent curable.
Warning signs of depression include:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep changes
- Anger or irritability
- Loss of energy
- Reckless behavior
- Trouble focusing
- Unexplained aches and pains
Warning signs of prostate cancer:
- Frequent urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder
- The urge to urinate frequently at night
- Blood in the urine
- New onset of erectile dysfunction
- Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common
Warning signs of testicular cancer:
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
- Back pain
If you notice any of the warning signs, talk to a doctor right away.
To learn more about how Think Research can support healthcare providers in diagnosing and providing critical treatment for common diseases impacting men, contact us today or book a complimentary demo.