Men’s Health Week: Time for your MOT
Men’s Health Week takes place between the 13th and 19th of June. It is designed to give all men access to the information, services and treatment they need to live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives. This year, the campaign tagline is ‘Time for your MOT,’ reminding men of the importance of prioritising their health and getting checked.
Prioritise Getting Checked
Early-stage cancer diagnoses fell by a third in the first lockdown and that shortfall has continued. Macmillan estimates that around 50,000 people missed a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. Specifically, prostate cancer diagnoses were down 29% between 2019 and 2020, highlighting the drop in the number of men seeing their GPs and getting diagnosed.
However, by spotting any signs or symptoms and getting checked, an early diagnosis can help not only increase survival rates, but also offer a more varied choice of treatments and patient pathways.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United Kingdom, affecting nearly 50,000 men a year. A lot of the time, many men go undiagnosed, particularly within the early stages of prostate cancer as they don’t experience symptoms, which is why raising awareness of the possible signs is vital. These include:
- A weak flow when urinating
- Loss of bladder control
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain in the back, hips, ribs or pelvis
Men who have any of these symptoms must be encouraged to go to their GP and initially get a Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which is a blood test to help detect prostate cancer. Similarly, any man over the age of 50, or with a family history of prostate cancer, should be regularly screened and continue to monitor their PSA levels to identify any changes over time.
Prostate Cancer Advancements
Major improvements have been made in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, which Neo PR’s client, BXTA, continues to raise awareness of. For example, men who are referred for suspected prostate cancer will undergo a prostate biopsy. This can now be done in an outpatient setting under local anaesthetic (LA TP), which is a safer environment and technique than traditional TRUS (transrectal needle) biopsies. This is because the technique is less invasive, with lower rates of infection and sepsis.
Additionally, prostate cancer can be easy to treat, with minimally invasive pathways available to patients. There are many treatment options available, especially when the cancer is diagnosed in the less aggressive stages. One treatment option is Low Dose Rate (LDR) brachytherapy, which is a form of radiation that delivers treatment to a targeted area using small radioactive seeds. The procedure is quick, and often, patients are sent home the next day. It also has a low complication rate due to being minimally invasive, with significant quality of life benefits over alternative options, such as the removal of the prostate.
By having the awareness and education about the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, men must act on them as they present themselves. With the right insight, as well as screening options and available treatments, prostate cancer can be treated and men will be able to live a long and happy life. Now is the time for any man who fears they might be displaying symptoms of potential prostate cancer to step forward, rather than be delayed.