What is Movember?
Some of you may have already heard of a campaign called “Movember”. Perhaps your friend or family member was growing some ridiculous moustache last November and you may not have really understood why.
Movember, or “Moustache November”, is far more than a gag to look like a dashing young Tom Selleck. It is a cause to support the men in our lives. It promotes awareness of issues that can be quite difficult for many men to discuss. This includes tackling tough issues like Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Mental Health, and Suicide Prevention.
Can Prostate Cancer be Prevented?
Yes! Unlike many other aggressive cancers, prostate cancer can be screened, treated, and cured as long as men get yearly visits to their primary doctor or Urologist. Starting at age 50, it is important for men to get a PSA blood draw and a digital rectal exam yearly until age 70. If over 70, talk with your doctor to see if screening is still in your best interests. If you have a brother or father with prostate cancer, or are African American, then the age of yearly screening should start at age 45 as you are at higher risk.
At HTX Urology, many of my new patient referrals are from primary doctors identifying an elevated PSA level or a nodule on the prostate during exam. In these cases, typically a prostate biopsy in the office is the next step. In under 10 minutes with some light sedation and local nerve block, tissue samples can be analyzed for cancer cells. Bleeding risk is negligible if you are not on blood thinners, and infection rate is under 1%.
What about Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer typically affects men in their 20s and 30s. In fact, it is the most common cancer in males from age 15 to 35. Risks factors can include race (white men), previous family history, or having an undescended testicle as a child.
It is important for young men to perform a self-exam in the shower each month. If you feel an abnormal lump or growth, it is important to make an appointment with a urologist. A scrotal ultrasound can also help assist with diagnosis. If found early, testicular cancer, much like prostate cancer, is highly treatable even if cancer cells have spread beyond the testicle.
How do I support Movember?
Spread the word! Join the cause and let your family and friends know on social media outlets like Facebook or Instagram that you think male cancer prevention is important. Talk openly about these subjects as for far too long, men have unneccesarily suffered in silence and in embarrassment. If you can, donate to my Movember page and start growing those moustaches.