Book
Cape Byron Medical Centre

MOVEMBER

 

Movember is an annual charity event that takes place throughout November, where men grow a moustache to raise awareness about prominent health issues for men.

You start the month of November clean shaven, then watch your “mo” develop. Designed to get men talking and break down the stereotype of the tough Aussie male, donations are made via participants’ Mo Space page or directly to the Movember Foundation.

It specifically targets prostate and testicular cancers as well as mental health issues such as depression and suicide prevention.

Where did Movember start?

It started in a place where many great ideas are spawned; in a Melbourne pub over a few beers! A couple of blokes who were discussing the social demise of the moustache within Aussie culture, who also shared a concern for Aussie men’s inability to openly discuss their health issues combined the two and Movember was born.

Since Movember first started in Australia in 2003, the foundation has grown to fund more than 1,200 men’s health initiatives across 21 countries.

Independent of government funding, Movember brings much needed awareness to communities striving to change behaviours and establish health services that work.

A massive $80 million was raised for men’s health last year alone, with more than one million donations.

Movember is designed to target, among other things, prostate and testicular cancers. Here’s what you need to do.

 

Prostate Cancer: What you need to know.
  1. How can I reduce my risk of prostate cancer?

Basically, live a healthy lifestyle. General rule of thumb; what is good for the heart is good for the prostate. Balanced diet and regular exercise give the body the best chance of dealing with any disease or infection.

 

  1. Which treatment is best for prostate cancer?

Options are varied for the treatment of prostate cancer. Ultimately it depends on a number of things including your age and the stage of your prostate cancer.  Consulting with your healthcare team, it might be possible that you don’t need to start treatment immediately after your diagnosis.

Different people place different values upon quantity versus quality of life so a management plan can be considered. If the cancer does need to be actively treated, you can opt for surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapy.

Surgery

If the cancer has not yet spread beyond the prostate gland, it can be removed through surgery. This is called a radical prostatectomy and can be carried out via open surgery, keyhole surgery or robotic assisted keyhole surgery.

Radiotherapy

There are two main types of radiotherapy – external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy. External beam radiation (EBRT) uses high energy x-ray beams directed at the prostate from outside the body. Brachytherapy is when radioactive material is inserted directly into the prostate.

Hormone therapy or androgen deprivation therapy

Prostate cancer is driven by hormones. Hormone reduction, particularly testosterone, can reduce the growth of prostate cancer. For men with higher risk cancer, hormone therapy is also given after radiotherapy to improve treatment outcome and overall survival. Hormone therapy is given in pill form or injections, sometimes both at the same time.

All treatments can have side effects and these can be discussed with your health consultants to determine the best way forward in the treatment of prostate cancer.

 

  1. How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Early warning signs include unusual urination patterns including frequency, pain or discomfort and the presence of blood, as well as pain in the lower back thighs or hips.

Tests include PSA blood tests (tests for increase in protein levels) and/or a digital rectal examination.

If these tests show a likelihood of prostate cancer usually a biopsy will be performed to determine if the cancerous cells are malignant or benign.

  1. What are the side effects of prostate cancer treatments?

The side effects of treatment for prostate cancer can be more debilitating than the symptoms that presented when the cancer was first diagnosed.

Impotence, incontinence, infertility and penis size (reduction) are possible side effects.

Management and coping mechanisms can be discussed with your health professionals.

 

  1. Can prostate cancer kill me?

More than 3000 men die from prostate cancer every year in Australia, and more men die from it than women of breast cancer. So yes it can.

 

  1. Will prostate cancer spread?

If left untreated the cancerous cells can spread to surrounding (and sometimes distant) tissue and body parts.

 

  1. Can prostate cancer be cured?

If caught early enough prostate cancer can usually be successfully treated and the cancer can be deemed to be in partial or complete remission. Early detection is key.

 

 

Testicular Cancer: What you need to know.
  1. What does testicular cancer feel like?

Changes in the way your testicles feel are an indication something might be wrong. Lumps, swelling, hardness, pain, numbness or discomfort can be indicative of testicular cancer.

 

  1. What are testicular cancer symptoms?

As well as the points listed above in question 1, other symptoms include aching or painful groin, excessive build-up of fluid in the scrotum, lower back pain, swelling in the legs and shortness of breath. Presence of these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have testicular cancer as there are other conditions that present similarly but it should be enough incentive to have them checked out by a health professional.

 

  1. How is testicular cancer caused?

In most cases it is unclear what causes testicular cancer.

Cells grow and divide in an orderly way to keep your body functioning normally, sometimes some cells develop abnormalities causing this growth to get out of control — these cancer cells continue dividing even when new cells aren’t needed forming a mass in the testicle.

Most testicular cancers begin in the germ cells (the cells that produce immature sperm). What causes these cells to become abnormal and develop into cancer isn’t known.

 

  1. How is testicular cancer diagnosed?

Usually blood tests detect the level of tumour markers and ultrasounds are used to detect the presence of a mass. If cancer is suspected usually the whole testicle is removed to avoid the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

 

  1. How is testicular cancer treated?

(Stage1) If the cancer is found only in the testicle removal may be the only treatment required.

(Stage2) If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvic/abdominal region it can be treated with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, as can Stage 3 which is where other organs are affected such as lungs or liver.

 

  1. Will testicular cancer kill you?

It can, but the incidence of death from testicular cancer is very low (there were only 24 deaths recorded in 2016). Most testicular cancers are successfully treated.

  1. Will testicular cancer come back?

It does not often return but if it does it is called a recurrence. The cancer can nearly always be treated successfully again.

 

  1. Will testicular cancer make you sterile?

It might. If considering fatherhood explore the opportunity of utilising a sperm bank prior to treatment. If one testicle is removed fertility can be restored once the cancer has been removed.