06 Nov Show Your Mo!
Support Men’s Health Awareness in November
A “mo” is a moustache that serves as the global “ribbon” for affecting higher male survival rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer, as well as suicide prevention. Anyone can show their “mo” (including our very own Crossover Health employees pictured here), and that’s where YOU come in. In November 2017, tweet a photo of you and your “mo” on Twitter with the hashtags #crossoverMO to help us raise awareness for men’s health. In return, we’ll make a $10 donation to the Movember Foundation on your behalf. Tell your friends — more “mos” equals more money for the cause*!
MO-tivate men to see a doctor
Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis. They are dying too young. In November 2017, Crossover will also support the Movember Foundation’s global movement by donating $50 for every physical exam completed* and focus on prevention in three areas:
1. Prostate Cancer
Early detection is key and can be the difference between life and death. When detected early, prostate cancer survival rates are better than 98%. Find it late, and those survival rates drop below 26%.
If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about PSA testing. If you’re African American, or have a brother or father with prostate cancer in their history, you are 2.5 times more likely to have it in your lifetime and need to start that conversation at 45.
Facts About Prostate Cancer
Only men have a prostate gland. The prostate gland is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube men urinate and ejaculate through. Its main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.
Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than normal, resulting in a tumor. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. These prostate cancer cells, if left untreated, may spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes and bones, producing secondary tumors in a process known as metastasis.
What’s a PSA test?
It’s a blood test used to determine the measurement of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) concentration in the blood. Crossover Health’s Chief Medical Officer follows the US Preventive Task Force guidelines and recommends individualized decision making about screening for prostate cancer after discussion with a clinician. Each man has an opportunity to understand the potential benefits and harms of screening and to incorporate his values and preferences into his decision.
What are symptoms of prostate cancer?
Not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up. Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
Signs and symptoms
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Treating prostate cancer
Treatment options are many and varied. Testing still can’t answer lots of key questions about disease aggression, prognosis and progression. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s important to keep in mind that many prostate cancers are slow growing and may not need surgery or other radical treatment.
Treatment options include:
- Active Surveillance
- Hormone Therapy
Choosing a treatment for prostate cancer
Aim to be ok with the treatment decision you make, take risks and benefits into consideration.Learn what you can, make use of the quality services and resources available. When making treatment decisions the following is recommended:
- Make a decision after a treatment recommendation from a multi-disciplinary meeting (where available). This meeting would ideally consist of input from the following specialists: urologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologist, nursing and allied health.
- Seek a second opinion for a recommended treatment option that is right for you, from both a urologist as well as a radiation oncologist.
- Enquire as to whether a specialist is part of a quality improvement audit, such as a registry.
- Utilize the cancer support services available in your country to increase your levels of information and understanding around treatment options, and potential side effects. Phone Prostate Cancer Foundation on 1 800 757 2873 or visit their website.
- Approach your GP if you have concerns or want a second opinion.
Ongoing side effects of prostate cancer treatment
Depending on the treatment you undergo, you may experience some of the following:
- Incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine)
- Erectile dysfunction (difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection)
- Weight gain due to hormone therapy
- DepressionThese side effects have different durations for different people.
Because a side effect of treatment may include erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer can have a serious impact on intimate relationships. As many people who have been through the journey will tell you, prostate cancer isn’t just a man’s disease, it’s a couple’s disease. Make sure you involve your partner as you think through the various treatment options.
Are you experiencing side effects?
There are treatments and actions you can take to manage many of these side effects. Take action to improve your quality of life. Go to Prostate Cancer Foundation, who have a wide variety of options to inform and guide you as to what services and resources are available to help.
2. Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men age 15-34 in the U.S. Men with undescended testes at birth, or who have a family history, like a father or brother who has had testicular cancer, are at an increased risk. And if you’ve had testicular cancer before, there’s also a heightened risk it could return.
Just as women are strongly encouraged to perform regular breast self-examinations, men should do self-examinations of their testes. These should be performed at least once a month in a warm shower, feeling one testicle at a time to know what normal feels like. If a lump is felt in the testicle or it becomes painful to touch, don’t panic, but do schedule a visit to see your doctor quickly.
If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer
The most important step is to talk to your doctor about treatment choices. You may consider getting a second or third doctor’s opinion.
Testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer and can be effectively treated, and often cured, if diagnosed and treated early. Advanced testicular cancer can also be cured with treatment including:
- Orchiectomy (surgical removal of the affected testis), done under general anesthetic
- Chemotherapy or radiotherapy, often prescribed after surgery to treat any remaining cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes
Testicular cancer and the removal of one testicle should not alter your ability to have sex or have children. The effect on fertility following removal of one of the testicles is minimal as a single testicle produces such large numbers of sperm. Men with testicular cancer should talk to their oncologist about sperm banking before commencing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
3. Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
A staggering fact is that three out of four suicides are men. The truth is that men don’t typically take time to talk about their own health or even ask for support when dealing with the stresses of life and depression. It is not a weakness. Many men go through it. If you or a man in your life is experiencing difficulty, please get a conversation started.
Common Symptoms of Depression
It’s different from normal sadness in that it consumes your day-to-day life and interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings you have when depressed – such as helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness – can be intense and unrelenting.
The symptoms of depression in men described in this section can be part of life’s normal ebbs and flows and don’t always signal depression. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.
There are some common symptoms of depression anyone can experience, which can include being withdrawn, losing interest in friends and activities you used to enjoy, and difficulty concentrating on things.
- Depressed mood or irritable
- Decreased interest or pleasure, you lose interest in doing things you used to enjoy, such as going to movies, reading, shopping, cooking, playing with your children.
- Significant weight change or change in appetite, your weight and appetite are a lot less or a lot more than usual.
- Change in sleep, you find yourself sleeping too little or too much.
- Change in activity, you feel as if everything (speech, thinking, moving) is slowed. The opposite can also occur, whereby you feel very agitated and almost jumpy (such as finding it tough to sit still, pacing, hand-wringing).
- Fatigue or loss of energy, you feel low on energy, even when you haven’t exerted yourself. This fatigue isn’t alleviated by rest or sleep.
- Guilt/worthlessness, you have negative and unrealistic feelings of guilt or about being worthless.
- Concentration, you have trouble thinking or concentrating, or making decisions.
- Suicidality, you have thoughts of death or suicide, or have a suicide plan.
Although mental illnesses are highly treatable, many men don’t recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their symptoms. You do not have to go through this alone. Crossover provides mental health services and aims at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health treatment and increasing access to treatment.
After the initial assessment period, you’ll start working with your therapist towards your treatment goals. You and your therapist will look at your thoughts, feelings and behaviors to help you implement more effective strategies and reduce the severity of the symptoms you are experiencing.
*Up to $2,500 in total will be donated for the combined physical exam appointments and Twitter photo submissions from November 6 through November 30, 2017.