Men’s Health

Here’s a section I am gradually building up on men’s specific health issues.  So far we have Prostate Problems and how to do a self check for Testicular Cancer. Don’t forget also to check the oestrogen dominance factsheet. This is an often-missed issue for men so I’ve included male oestrogen dominance symptoms like prostate enlargement, ‘man boobs’, foggy thinking and loss of libido on that too. Check it out: Oestrogen Dominance.

Prostate Problems

This is a controversial topic and I have seen many a man come in worried sick by a high PSA count. The first thing to know is that some experts now believe that the PSA count is not the be all and end all it is cracked up to be.  Generally, you need to start lifestyle changes early on if your PSA is higher than it should be, don’t ignore it.  Be led by your practitioners, of course.

I need to write a lot more about this and will update this page for you as and when. Meantime, if you are concerned about prostate cancer, the PSA test and prostate treatment, you might like to read this article from the Alliance of Natural Health. It points you towards a film made by eminent producer Peter Starr in the US who suffered with it himself.

It is a bit overblown in tone, as always, but the experts interviewed are very respected and the over-riding message seems to be that the PSA test is unreliable and despite a massive increase in diagnosis and therefore treatment, deaths from prostate cancer have not reduced since the 1930s. The recommendation is to change your diet and lifestyle and to think carefully about the treatments you choose which, I think, is sound advice.

The ANH believes it should be required viewing for all men over 40, and they don’t say things like that lightly in my experience!

That said, never ignore a high PSA count. Report it, discuss it and take some action. It’s a warning sign.  And check your hormone levels – most often I have found it is being at least partly caused by oestrogen dominance, which I have mentioned above.

News update: Make sure you ask for both MRI and Ultrasound scans scans to find prostate cancer effectively. Useful new study on this here. And, there is a new water-jet non-drug treatment now available on the NHS for men with prostate problems.

Testicular Cancer- How To Self-Check

Since testicular cancer is an increasing problem  in younger men (15-49) and is very curable if caught early, it is a really good idea to do a self-check regularly. We probably know that but how many of you actually know how to check?

Here’s some info for you from a leading specialist:

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer for men aged 15-49 in the UK[i], with cases having more than doubled in Britain since the mid-1970s[ii]. However, despite this for the vast majority of men – around 95% – testicular cancer is curable, and this rate is even higher when the cancer has been caught early. With this in mind, it is important that men to regularly check their testicles, so they can establish what’s normal for them, therefore making it easier to spot changes.

Dr Simon Chowdhury, Consultant Medical Oncologist at London Bridge Hospital, who specialises in the treatment of testicular and urological (prostate, bladder and kidney) cancers explains:

“Men should check their testicles at least once a month after a warm bath or shower, as the heat causes the scrotum to relax making it easier to find anything unusual. The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in one testicle and although it is important to remember that most testicular lumps are not cancer, if you do find something unusual you should consult your GP.”

When carrying out self-examination Dr Chowdhury suggests the following four steps:

  1. Hold both testicles in the palm of your hand to compare for equal heaviness. (Note: It is quite normal for one testicle to be larger or hang down lower than the other)
  2. Using the thumb and forefinger, roll each testicle to check for any small, hard lumps or slight enlargement or firmness of the testicle.
  3. If you feel comfortable, perhaps ask your partner to check your testicles, as they may be more likely to identify a problem in the future and encourage you to do something about it.
  4. If you find a lump or something that seems out of the ordinary for you, make an appointment to consult your GP.

Whilst a lump in the testicle is considered the most common symptom of testicular cancer, additional symptoms can include:

  • Any enlargement of a testicle
  • A significant loss of size in one of the testicles
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the pectoral region

Dr Chowdhury reiterates that whilst these signs are not exclusive of testicular cancer, “If you find anything unusual get it checked by your GP as the possibility of it being testicular cancer needs to be ruled out. Don’t delay as in rare circumstances some types of testicular cancer can progress quickly.”

For more info, visit Cancer Research UK’s factsheet page on testicular cancer here.