November means Movember, the month of the moustache and the campaign to raise awareness of the conditions that affect men the most – prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide.
Here's what you need to know about the conditions and the danger signs to look out for.
Testicular cancer is most commonly characterised by a painless lump or swelling in one of the testicles; the lump can be pea-sized or larger. Other symptoms to watch out for include a dull ache and/or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
Regularly checking your scrotum, testicles and penis is important, so you know what feels normal to you. If you have any of the above symptoms, or notice anything different in this area, see your GP as soon as possible.
Symptoms include an increased need to urinate, feeling like you haven’t fully emptied your bladder, or straining when urinating. These symptoms can indicate that your prostate is enlarged and is pressing on the tube that carries urine from your bladder to your penis.
If you do have these symptoms, speak to your GP or online doctor. But don’t worry, they could equally be caused by other prostate-affecting conditions.
Studies are beginning to show that being a healthy weight and doing regular exercise can lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Mental health and suicide
Many things can take a serious toll on mental health – such as problems at work, financial issues, or a relationship breakdown. Having a strong support network and talking about the hard things is paramount, it helps you to stay mentally healthy and cope with the everyday stress of life.
Signs of poor mental health may include drinking more, isolating yourself, being irritable, feeling tearful/hopeless or becoming aggressive.
It’s good to talk
Many men feel like they have to put on a brave face and may not like to seek help. Whether it’s talking to your doctor about a lump or asking a friend to listen when you’re distressed, talking can be lifesaving.
By Dr. Alexandra Phelan
Dr Phelan is a GP with the NHS and Pharmacy2U, an online service which provides free, fast and convenient delivery of NHS repeat prescriptions.