Published: 16 September 2021
Cancer is, for many of us, an extremely difficult thing to talk about. It comes with trauma, sadness and fear, which leads people to avoid the topic whenever they can.
But ask any doctor and they will tell you the key to treatment is finding it early. That means finding out the warning signs and checking often.
For this article, the Health and Wellbeing Team wanted to talk a little about one of the least considered sides of the topic – cancer in men.
Men make up over half of the people diagnosed with the disease, but there is a shockingly low number of them seeking help.
Macmillan Cancer Trust reported only 37% of calls to their hotline come from men.
What this means is that men are not getting the support they need, not only in terms of dealing with what they’re going through but finding out about the kinds of treatment options available to them as well.
As University of Sunderland in London students, you know that knowledge is the key to moving forward.
So, let’s find out the facts.
What is cancer
Cancer is one of the most common diseases humans will experience in their lifetimes.
There are very few people who do not know at least one person who has had it.
It’s caused when cells in your body stop dividing in their usual way and start growing out of control.
In some cases, this cell division can move from one group of body tissue to another.
So, cancer in the stomach can spread to the lungs for example.
There are, in fact, over 200 different types of cancer, which can appear in almost any part of the body.
Although all of this sounds a little shocking, there have been huge changes in cancer research in recent years.
The developments of new treatments including radiation and chemotherapy mean that by 2035 researchers think we will have reduced deaths by 15%.
What about cancer in men
As we mentioned, men tend to report cancer a lot less than women. This is a particular problem considering there are cancers that appear only in people with male genitalia.
Prostate, testicular and penile cancer are highly unreported.
The reason for that is complex, but it’s thought men in particular are reluctant to seek medical advice, especially when it comes to areas of the body they consider private or carrying a stigma.
Orchid, the male cancer charity recommends that everyone with a penis, testicles and a prostate gland check themselves regularly.
If you notice anything different, it’s important to go to your GP straight away for confidential and professional advice.
There is a lot of help available for you. Macmillan Cancer Support has a wide range of ways to get in touch as well as resources to look through.
The Health and Wellbeing team are here for you. They can signpost you to services and help you get support for your studies.