During the month of November, you have surely heard of the word Movember. However, what exactly does it stand for?
The word Movember is a combination of the words Moustache and November. It originated in 2003 in Australia when two friends, Garona and Slattery, decided to bring moustaches back into fashion. During that time, a friend’s mother was raising awareness on breast cancer. Inspired by her, they started to identify moustaches with the pink ribbon but masculinized. Nowadays November is known for growing a moustache in order to raise awareness on health issues related to men; such as prostate cancer.
Insite interviewed Dr. Xuereb Dingli in order to get some insight on prostate cancer. Here is what he had to say on the matter:
Cancer develops when somehow there is a loss of cell control and it starts dividing very rapidly. The cells themselves divide so rapidly that they start exerting pressure on the surrounding tissues. As a consequence, we get local effects which in turn can be damaging. There is also a tendency to spread because sometimes they erode into blood vessels and spread to other sides. This process is called Metastasis. This is in fact what happens in the prostate when it develops cancer. Unfortunately, we have no information on how a cancer develops. Moreover, we do not know why some people are affected by it while others are not.
Dr. Xuereb Dingli states that hereditariness does play a role. In fact, if your father has prostate cancer, your chance of developing it doubles, however, it is not 1:1. It is good to be aware that prostate cancer is now the most common cancer of men in Western countries as it affects about 1 in 7 men.
Dr. Xuereb Dingli affirms that cancer of the prostate can be detected on the basis of three things: Prostatism which is a digital rectal exam and through the PSA test. Prostatism involves symptoms related to something growing within the prostate such as having to use the bathroom more frequent, a reduction in the rate of flow of urine, the urge, that is, one minute you do not need to pass urine and another minute you really need to go and can result in wetting yourself else or else dribbling of urine. These symptoms, however, may or may not be present.
When asked how often one should get checked, Dr. Xuereb Dingli said that ideally every 5 years after one turns 40 and then every year after the age of 50. However, one should think of getting checked even before if there are urinal symptoms. He further states that if one has other problems in their genitalia, unrelated to prostate cancer, they should get a check-up too just to be safe. General check-ups are also important for general health care.
Lastly, as one might be aware of, women refer to a Gynaecologist while men are usually referred to a Urologist. The latter looks into urinal problems. However, a Urologist also takes care of women and not just men.
Even though the month of November is coming to an end we must not let certain issues slip away. Do not be afraid, do get checked up if you need to and encourage others to do so as well!