Most of the time, preventable health problems can be treated and cured if detected early. This is why it’s important for men of all ages (including boys and youths) to go for regular check-ups. Men who are over 40 are advised to go at least once a year.
Making daily healthy choices will improve your health and quality of life
- Eat healthy. Nutritious foods give you energy and may lower your risk of certain diseases. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk products.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Eat healthy foods, control portion sizes, and be active to keep your weight in check.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking is linked to many of the leading causes of death, and disease including cancer, lung disease, and stroke. Also, avoid second-hand smoke.
- Know your family history to determine whether you’re at risk of getting cancer. The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) advises men between the ages of 40 and 50 to visit their doctor annually.
- Early detection is key. Forget painful tests and endless scans. By obtaining just a drop of blood from your finger, your doctor can determine whether you’re at risk of developing cancer and whether you need a full medical examination.
- Check for lumps monthly. After a bath or shower, roll each testicle gently between each thumb. If you feel anything unusual, like a change in the size of one of the testicles or a lump, contact your doctor immediately. You can't be sure as to whether a person has testicular cancer based on the presence of symptoms alone. The symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- Uncomfortable feeling in a testicle.
- Presence of a painless lump on a testicle – the lump can sometimes be as small as a grain of rice and feel like hard rubber.
- An enlarged or swollen testicle.
- Significant shrinking of a testicle.
- A change in the consistency of a testicle.
- A heavy or aching feeling in the back, lower abdomen, groin, or scrotum.
- Any painless lump on a testicle that doesn't respond promptly to antibiotic treatment.
- If the cancer has already spread to the lungs, problems like shortness of breath, chest pain, or cough (even coughing up blood) may develop.
- Get routine exams and screenings. You should have your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checked regularly, and every year if you’re over 40. You should also go for regular screenings for prostate and testicular cancer. These sorts of screenings help to pick up any potential problems even before symptoms appear.
- Have an HIV test done. It’s essential to go for an HIV test if:
- you’ve never had one before,
- you’ve changed your sexual partner since your last test,
- you’ve had unprotected sex,
- you and your partner want to have a baby,
- you have or had TB,
- you’re on treatment for a sexually transmitted disease STI, or
- you’ve had more than 1 sexual partner at the same time.
- Take medication as prescribed by your doctor. Thousands of deaths could be prevented each year by taking medication as prescribed. Make sure to follow your doctor's instructions for all medication, including those that help control conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Avoid heavy alcohol drinking. Heavy drinking can lead to many problems, including high blood pressure, various cancers, psychological problems, interpersonal violence and accidents. For men 65 and younger, drinking in moderation means no more than 2 drinks per day. Men older than 65 should have no more than 1 drink a day.
- Manage stress. Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. But it's important to protect your mental and physical health.
- Get moving. Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. You should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. You can wash your car, you can walk with your kids, or you can take up a sport.
- Know your risks. Learn how your lifestyle and work environment affects your risk of developing health problems.
- Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood and your health. See your doctor or visit your clinic if you think you have a serious problem. Sleep apnoea, a common problem in which your breathing stops briefly can increase the risk of accidents and certain health problems.
Start taking care of your health by going for free testing and screenings at your local clinic today and let’s make your personal health Better Together.
Since 2009, each November has seen South African men growing moustaches as part of the global Movember Campaign. This campaign raises vital funds for the care and support of men affected by cancer and gives all men the opportunity to "change the face of men’s health" in the country.
Movember provides Cansa with a unique opportunity to build specialised programmes, as well as to extend existing care facilities to provide customised support to prostate and testicular cancer survivors. These programmes and initiatives include:
- Movember Metropolitan Integrated Care Programme
- Movember Patient Navigation Programme
- Counselling and Online Support
These programmes and initiatives work to support and care for survivors and their caregivers, from the time they’re diagnosed, through their recovery period.
What can you do for men’s health this Movember?
So, show your support and sign-up for Movember today and help raise awareness about men’s health.
Movember 2017: Stop Men Dying Too Young