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Tackling the topic of men’s reproductive cancers

Men talking in a workshop
Men can be reluctant to discuss men’s reproductive health issues with friends and family, or even their GP

It’s no secret that men are not queuing up to talk to friends or family about men’s health issues, especially if they relate to the region between stomach and knees.

Unfortunately, they can also be reluctant to talk about topics like prostate or testicular cancer with a GP or doctor.

This reluctance may have an influence on lower cancer detection rates, and worse, higher preventable cancer mortality rates in men.

What to look out for

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in Australian men. So, it's important to know the signs and tell your GP if you notice any changes in your body.

In the early stages of prostate cancer, most men won’t have any symptoms. That’s why your GP may recommend getting tested as part of regular health checks as you get older.

Some men may experience urinary symptoms as they get older. These are most commonly caused by age-related changes in the prostate and bladder rather than cancer, but if you have any of the symptoms listed below, it’s still a good idea to discuss them with your GP.

A graphic showing the location of the prostate in men

Testicular cancer is rarer than prostate cancer, but it’s still important to get any changes you notice checked out. Common symptoms of testicular cancer are listed below.

A graphic showing testicular cancer in men

Early intervention

Almost every health issue affecting men will benefit from early intervention. If something doesn’t seem quite right down below, then it’s time to visit your GP.  When you do, describe your symptoms as best you can and try to recall when you first noticed any changes. Don’t be surprised if they give you a full check-up, especially if you haven’t had a one in a long time.

The lowdown on prostate exams

One of the simplest ways for a doctor to tell if your prostate is enlarged is to physically examine it. It’s a short, simple procedure that could save your life. You can read more about prostate checks, how they’re performed, and other tests to check the health of your prostate in our blog Everything you need to know about your prostate.

Prevention

Not all prostate or testicular cancers are preventable – sometimes disease happens regardless of how healthy a lifestyle you’ve lived – and you can’t avoid all the risk factors, like getting older. But there are some things you can do to lower your risks.

Living a healthy lifestyle by eating plenty of healthy foods, getting regular exercise and decreasing stress is great for your body overall and might help lower your risk of developing some cancers.

Three men playing golf

There’s some evidence that eating a lot of processed meats and or food that is high in fat can increase the risk of getting prostate cancer, so it’s a good idea to think about how often you eat these kinds of foods and talk to your doctor if you’ve got any questions.

Knowing your risk factors can help you and your doctor plan for proactively checking your prostate. For example, if you have a first-degree relative who has had prostate cancer (your dad or brother), you have a higher chance of getting it yourself. This chance increases if another relative gets the same diagnosis, so it’s good to keep your doctor informed.

If you have any other concerns or questions, talk to your GP.

More information

Everything you need to know about your prostate

My Amazing Body: The Testicles

Health Direct: Men’s Health

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Last updated: 18 November 2020