Men's Health ... is it time for a checkup?
November is Men's Health Month here in The Southern Highlands and for me as a cancer survivor, it is particularly significant. In our community, a group of local health practitioners and support advocates are coming together to present a series of evening lectures and discussion sessions on a range of Men's Health issues including prostate, bowel, and cardiac - these will be held in a local golf club - a totally non-threatening, convivial environment, especially for the male species. What a wonderful - and ever so important - initiative!
Southern Highlands Men's Health Month Poster 2014
I've previously written several articles about prostate cancer and my personal journey to recovery from it and hope that they will motivate many of my male followers to take action. Here are the live links:
Essentially, this means simply ensuring regular (at least once a year) health checks with your GP INCLUDING a blood count which includes PSA. In my case, my PSA elevation was only 4.6 or just 0.1 over the upper normal level but it was enough for my GP to recommend referral to a specialist for further investigation and resolve - a biopsy which verified the worst and surgery which cured me!! And I strongly recommend you go with it - do not resist!!
Your specialist (a Urologist) will usually advise your options as:
- do nothing
- wait and watch
- proceed with treatment, be it radiation or surgery (sometimes both)
Whilst the first is simply an acknowledgement by the doctor that the choice is ultimately yours (and it is), the second is a means of tempering for you the very confronting diagnosis he's just presented to you. Whilst is expresses a sensitivity and is offered because unlike other forms of cancer, prostate cancer is widely known to be "slow growing" and that is why many men die with it but not from it! But I believe this is misleading advice because, all of the expert advise I received and articles I read as research recommended early intervention So long as the cancer is confined to the prostate it can be treated and in many cases cured but if allowed (over time) to escape and attach to the spine and/or other organs - and remember the prostate is located in the lower abdomen and right in front of the base of the spine - it becomes a whole different ballgame!!! The best advice I received was to act immediately, seek confirmation of its status - usually by MRI and scans - and if contained, undergo surgery for its removal. If you procrastinate, you could lose your window of opportunity.
So use Men's Health month or any other excuse to treat yourself to a visit to the GP (and put it your diary as an annual event) and be sure to have your PSA and prostate checked! BUT if you need more convincing, take a half hour and watch this video:
...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....