Men’s Health Awareness Month

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer afflicting Canadian men, with 1 in 7 men being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. It is the second most common type of cancer and the 5th leading cause of cancer-related death in men.

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer developing in the prostate gland, an essential part of the male reproductive system. The cancer may not pose any harm initially, but it can spread to the bones and lymph nodes if left alone. This can lead to blood in the urine, pelvis and back pain, fatigue, and possibly death.

Risk factors for prostate cancer include old age, family history and even race. It is highly recommended to have a rectal examination done by your family physician to check whether you have this disease. If you would prefer a less invasive screen method, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is another option.

If you have a friend or family member, or know someone who is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, here is some advice on how you can help them through this painful period in their lives.

1. Keep a positive attitude. No matter what happens, it is important that you stay strong and optimistic, and you must be willing to accept that there are events you cannot control.

2. Offer words of encouragement. Talk openly with them and speak encouraging words to help them through their day.

3. Ask questions. Ask physicians and nurses more about their condition, and how you can help improve their condition. Search for additional information about the disease and learn more about existing or types of treatments, and then discuss it with them.

4. Socialize with peers. There are other patients suffering from the same disease, so try connecting and reaching out to their companions to help you.

5. Relax, rest and sleep. Most importantly, take care of yourself. You will need to be well-rested if you want to continue helping your companion throughout their ordeal.

If you didn’t know, November is also called Movember, since it is the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues by growing a moustache. The idea started with growing a moustache, which originated in the mid 19th century to show that men were old enough to vote. Nowadays, this has shifted to showing support for men’s health causes. The Movember Foundation started in 2003 in Australia, and has raised over $759 CAD since then. The foundation has over 5 million members, consisting of both men and women, and has connected people from all over the world.

Even if you don’t know anyone with prostate cancer but are interested in helping with this cause, please consider donating to help prevent young men from dying today.

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