Movember strikes up conversations on men’s health

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Men need to engage more in topics regarding their health “below the belt,” says one Langara nursing instructor.
Photo by Kayla Isomura

Testicular cancer is most common among young men, but knowing how to check and what to look for can save your crown jewels, and your life.

According to the BC Cancer Agency, men aged 20 to 39 are most at risk for testicular cancer.

Some facts and stats

In 2011, there were 97 reported cases of testicular cancer in men aged 20 to 39 and 35 cases in men aged 40 to 59 in B.C.

According to the BC Cancer agency, if testicular cancer is caught early enough, the cure rate is nearly 100 per cent. If left undiagnosed, it could result in having a testicle removed, or it could spread to other organs and put your life at risk.

Raising awareness of testicular cancer

However, according to nursing instructor Peterson Masigan, awareness of this issue is not high among men because there is not much dialogue about men’s health in our society.

“There’s this notion in society that young men are supposed to be virile and strong,” he said. “[Men’s health] doesn’t get a lot of attention because it doesn’t fit that image in society.”

Young men should be checking regularly for lumps in their testicles. Photo by Kayla Isomura
Young men should be checking regularly for lumps.
Photo by Kayla Isomura

Checking regularly for anything unusual

The biggest thing is to develop healthy habits early on, he said.

He suggests that right out of high school, once a month in the shower, men should feel for any unusual lumps or bumps.

“This habit allows you to know your body so when something appears, you can catch it right away,” he said.

Prostate cancer isn’t as much as a concern

A 2010 report by the BC Cancer Agency shows only one death from genital cancers among 49 total cancer deaths in men aged 20 to 39.

According to the BC Cancer Agency, prostate cancer is less of a worry for men under 40, with only two cases diagnosed in this age range in 2011 and no deaths.

Masigan agreed and said sexual health is a bigger worry than prostate cancer for young men.

“There is a lot of research showing that erectile dysfunction is a very early sign of cardiovascular issues in young men,” he said. “The pipes in the penis are much smaller than in the heart, so problems in the penis can be a bad sign for the heart.”

Resources available at Langara

Langara College computer science student Rodrigo Santoro said he’s not aware of a self-test for testicular cancer, and would attend a workshop if one were available at the college.

“To anybody it would be important,” he said.

Other than information available at Langara Health Services, there are no men’s health workshops or information sessions put on by the college.

“Self-exams and safe sex are the keys to men’s health below the belt,” Masigan said.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 960 men in Canada will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year.

Reported by Bill Everitt

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